Cops hunt distraction burglars who lied to elderly Hackney victims about ‘explosions’

E-fit images of the men police want to speak to. Picture: Met Police

E-fit images of the men police want to speak to. Picture: Met Police - Credit: met

Detectives have released E-fit images of two men sought over two distraction burglaries which saw cash stolen from elderly victims who were told there had been “explosions”.

Police believe the incidents, which both took place on Wednesday July 22 within a short time of each other, are linked.

In the first an an 89-year-old woman had gone shopping at about 12.30pm when she was approached by a man in the street wearing a blue lanyard. He told her an explosion had taken place and that he “needed to go into all of the flats to check the water pipes”.

She took the man back to her home in Gosset Street, Shoreditch, and they were joined by another man who followed them.

Once inside one of the suspects began rifling around under the sink while the other went into the living room, where the victim’s 90-year-old husband - who is recovering from a stroke - was sat.

Once they left, the elderly victims realised they had made off with a black handbag containing about £4,000 in cash.

In the second incident less than two hours later, an 85-year-old man and his 77-year-old wife were at their home near Mabley Green, Homerton when two men knocked on the door claiming to be from Thames Water.

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They said they needed to check the water because an explosion had taken place down the street.

The male victim was told to turn on the taps upstairs, while the elderly woman looked down the street to see what had happened.

They later realised the two men had stolen £400 from their bedroom along with sentimental jewellery, including an engagement ring and Star of David necklace.

Investigating officer Det Const Tom May said: “Though both sets of victims were physically unharmed, they have been left distraught by the callous actions of two men who have preyed on vulnerable, elderly people.

“The incidents are made all the more disturbing by the fact that one of the victims was an elderly man who had recently suffered a stroke and was being cared for by his wife.

“I urge anyone who recognises the men in these E-fit images - or anyone who has been approached in a similar fashion - to contact us immediately.”

Suspect one is a white man, aged about 40 years old, 5ft 8in in height and “plump” in figure. He had short dark hair and was clean shaven, and was wearing a dark jumper and trousers.

Suspect two is a white youth of about 17 to 19-years-old, of very thin build, who was clean shaven, with short brown hair slicked back with gel, and wearing a thin grey summer waterproof jacket, cream T-shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information that could help police is asked to call 101 quoting ref CRIS4618078/20 or 4219690/20.

Alternatively, tweet @MetCC, or to remain anonymous contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

To protect against distraction burglary, where a person tricks a victim into allowing them into their home, people should always ask for identification and never open the door to a stranger until they are fully satisfied who they are.