Hand wash trickster turned away by Chadwell Heath couple before burgling house in their road

The burglar tricking residents into washing their hands so he can take their money visited another house on Saturday before burgling his second victim, it has emerged.

The man stole �100 from a home in Ilfracombe Gardens, Chadwell Heath, on Saturday morning by telling a 38-year-old woman he was collecting donations for a temple.

He said she needed to wash her hands before giving him the money and she left the room.

The woman did not know the money had been taken until after the man left.

A couple on the corner of Ilfracombe Gardens said the burglar knocked on their door minutes before the burglary.

David Bailey said: “I opened the door and he asked if there was an Indian man living next door.

“I thought he was just looking for someone he knew round here so I said yes but he was out.

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“The man walked past next door and straight up the road. I would have told him to bugger off if he’d asked me for money.”

Ilfracombe Gardens resident Viji Chandra said charity collectors visit the road “a few times a week”.

She added: “They ask for money at the door for animal cruelty or blind children or whatever but everybody is suspicious.”

The burglar also stole �250 from a 79-year-old woman in The Drive, Ilford, using the same trick on Thursday.

The man is described as Asian, between 55 and 60 years old, 5ft 5ins tall with brown eyes, a long light grey beard and long grey ponytail.

Anyone with information is asked to contact DC Kevin Rowley on 0208 345 2680 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.