Police warning after thief targets the elderly

PUBLISHED: 18:00 07 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:08 17 June 2010

POLICE are warning Sidmouth residents to be on the lookout for a man targeting older residents and stealing from them. A string of offences are being investigated that are concentrated on the Torquay, Newquay and Teignbridge areas. So far there have been

POLICE are warning Sidmouth residents to be on the lookout for a man targeting older residents and stealing from them.

A string of offences are being investigated that are concentrated on the Torquay, Newquay and Teignbridge areas.

So far there have been 15 incidents recorded in Torquay, three in Newquay and a handful in Teignbridge. But police have stressed this man could appear anywhere.

In many of the cases he gains the confidence of the householder by claiming to be an old friend or neighbour.

Once inside he seeks the opportunity to steal from the householder, often he leaves empty-handed but has on occasions made off with hundreds of pounds.

A police spokesman said: "This man is deliberately offending against our more trusting yet vulnerable members of our community.

"Our advice regarding unexpected callers remains the same. Don't let them in unless you are certain you know who they are. If they say they represent a utility company they will have identification with them. Ask to see it and read it carefully.

"As neighbours we can help by keeping an eye on our older residents and speaking to anyone going door to door. If you suspect an offence is being committed call the police straight away.

"The man is subject of a current police investigation and officers from the areas involved are exchanging details to help build a case to identify and arrest the suspect. In the meantime we'd rather he didn't get any further opportunities"

The suspect is described as a white man, in his late 20s to early 30s. He has a chubby and fresh face and has often been seen wearing a woollen hat.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crimestoppers on 08452 777 444 quoting police reference FT/08/9818.


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