Redbridge burglar who distracts victims by telling them to wash their hands strikes again

A burglar who poses as a charity collector to con his way into homes before asking victims to wash their hands to distract them has struck twice in three days.

On Thursday (4), he visited a house in The Drive, Ilford, at around 8.15am.

He told a 79-year-old resident he was collecting money to buy food for a charity but when she offered �10 he told her she needed to wash her hands before giving him the money.

She returned to find the man taking money from her purse and he got away with �250 in cash.

On Saturday, the same man knocked at an address in Ilfracombe Gardens, Chadwell Heath at around 9.20am.

When the 38-year-old occupant answered her door, he said he was collecting money for a temple.

Again, he said she needed to wash her hands before giving the money and also asked for a glass of water, which he drank before leaving.

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The lady noticed �100 was missing shortly after he left.

Police believe the same man is responsible for both burglaries.

He is described as Asian, between 55 and 60 years old, 5ft 5ins tall and of medium build with brown eyes.

He has a long light grey beard and long grey ponytail.

During the second burglary, he was wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, black waistcoat and white trousers.

He also had a black Sikh symbol on his right hand.

Police advice residents to use a door chain or spy hole before opening the door to unknown callers.

People should be asked for identity and refused entry if people have doubts.

Police would like to speak to any other victims of similar incidents who have not spoken to them yet.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det Con Kevin Rowley on 020 8345 2680 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.