Thieves ‘targeting elderly for pension money’ at Barkingside Post Office

Heartless thieves are stealing pension money from elderly people after following them from Barkingside Post Office, it is believed.

Elizabeth Russo, 82, had just withdrawn £145 to last her a week when it disappeared from her handbag minutes later.

She said: “I put the money away in an envelope but when I went to check it, it was gone.

“I was devastated. I walk with a stick and I’m disabled so I can’t walk fast and even if I’d seen the thief I couldn’t have chased them.”

When Mrs Russo returned to the post office, in High Street, to see if the money was there, she said staff told her other elderly customers had been targeted by thieves for pension money.

It is not the first time elderly people have been preyed on in Redbridge.

Earlier this year, youths sprayed a 72-year-old in the face with pepper spray and pushed him to the ground to steal £500 outside Barclays bank in Cranbrook Road, Gants Hill.

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On the same day, an 86-year-old man had £300 stolen after left a bank by a man who distracted him using a map.

Mrs Russo, who lives alone, had to use a credit card to pay for bills.

It was the fourth time she has been targeted by thieves.

Her purse was taken in charity shop Scope, in High Street, Barkingside, and again on a bus in Chingford.

Mrs Russo’s home was also burgled last year.

“I’m in a terrible state,” she said. “I can’t believe it’s happened again.”

A Redbridge Police spokesman said inquiries continue.

A spokesman at the Post Office’s head office said the company was concerned to hear of the theft and will assist in any way they can.

•Call Redbridge Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 with information.