E-fit Image Released After Redditch Distraction Offences
Police have released an E-fit image of a man they want to trace following two distraction offences in Redditch in which pensioners were targeted by offenders posing as workmen or ‘water board' officials.
The incidents happened on Tuesday, 3 April, between 4.45pm and 5pm in Fladbury Close and are being linked. The E-fit image is of a man who called at the homes of two pensioners, in the one instance claiming to work for the water board and in the other saying that he was fitting kitchens and needed to check taps and the property's water pressure.
On both occasions he was allowed in and started checking radiators but the householders then became suspicious, partly because he was wearing black woolly gloves, and told him to leave. Nothing was taken at either property.
The man who talked his way into the homes is white and described as around 5ft 5inches in height with a round, chubby face, and short brown hair. He was wearing a blue hooded top.
It is possible that he was with a second man who was white, stocky and shorter, with short dark hair. Both are thought to have boarded a number 57 or 58 bus in Studley Road shortly afterwards. It was heading in the direction of Redditch Town Centre and detectives would like to hear from any passengers who saw them on the bus or anyone else on that route who noticed them.
Detective Constable Dean Mowbray of Redditch CID said today: "We would like people to have a good look at this image and tell us if they know or think they know who this is. Although thankfully nothing was stolen during these incidents because the householders became suspicious it is disgusting to think that people can prey on the elderly and vulnerable in this way.
"People should not let strangers into their homes, irrespective of the reason they give for calling, until they have checked their identity and are satisfied that they are who they say they are. In the case of utility companies an appointment should have been made in advance. Remember - ‘if in doubt, keep them out.'
"Anyone who is suspicious about a caller should send them away and ring the police immediately."
Anyone who recognises the E-fit likeness or has information about the distraction offences should call Redditch CID on 0300 333 3000, quoting incident reference 219-N-030412, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Issued: Tuesday, 17 April 2012