Conmen are believed to have stolen cash and jewellery from a 91-year-old Brighton man on Saturday (25 February).
They posed as water board officials when they called at his home in Wolverstone Drive in Hollingdean at about 2pm.
They said that they needed to talk to him about doing some emergency work in his garden.
The pair went into the property and one engaged the pensioner in conversation while the other man went round the house.
Sussex Police said that after they left the victim found that £115 cash had been stolen along with his late wife’s wedding ring, another silver ring and a tie pin.
The bogus officials were both described as white, clean shaven, and about 5ft 8” to 5ft 9in tall.
The man who kept the victim talking was in his early twenties and had a full head of short hair coloured between auburn and black.
He was wearing a dark waist-length jacket or thick fleece and dark trousers. He spoke with what is described as a London accent.
The second man was a similar height and had a similar build although his hair was a little darker.
Detective Constable Emma Vickers said: “This was a despicable crime carried out against an elderly man.”
Anyone who was in the area on Saturday afternoon and who saw the men or who has had similar approaches recently was asked to call Sussex Police on 101.
It is also possible to contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
DC Vickers added: “Be aware and cautious about anyone calling at your door unannounced and do not let them in.”
She said that people should
- Attach their door chain before opening the door to strangers
- Remember that water company staff and contractors always carry identification
- Look for a company uniform and vehicle logo
- If in doubt, don’t let them in – keep them out
DC Vickers said: “Employees and contractors of genuine companies will always be happy to wait while you check their identification.”
To check the identity of water contractors, call Southern Water on 0845 278 0845.
She added: “If you are suspicious and the callers are still present or near by call the police on 999.”
Detectives are considering possible links between this offence and five similar offences in Brighton, Hove and Crawley over the past month.
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