Police investigating a series of distraction burglaries targeting elderly people in Hammersmith have released CCTV images of four men they want to speak to in connection with the offences.
Three incidents were reported to police in just 24 hours, involving an offender claiming to be from the council who said he needed to carry out essential maintenance work to prevent flooding.
While the victims were distracted, another person or people searched the property, stealing valuables.
'A despicable crime'
Detective Constable Davidson, from Hammersmith CID, said: “This is a despicable crime where people pose as workers from places such as utility companies or the council.
“They gain the trust of elderly residents and invite themselves in to carry out 'essential maintenance work', like fixing a leak from upstairs or burst pipes.
“The borough has seen a number of distraction burglaries recently involving elderly residents.
“I would ask that people be extra vigilant and check the ID of anyone who is unknown to them who comes to their door.
"Please keep an eye out for vulnerable persons within your community and help to keep them safe.”
Spare bedroom was searched
The first burglary took place in Du Cane Road at around 12.50pm last Tuesday (October 11).
A couple in their 80s answered the door to a man claiming to be from the council, who said he needed to stop the water to the flat.
When the man entered the kitchen the elderly couple caught a second man coming down the stairs.
The spare room had been searched and £40 was stolen.
The first man was described as being white, aged in his mid-20s, of slim build and clean shaven with short black hair.
He was wearing a blue shirt, dark trousers and possibly brown shoes.
The second man was white, in his 30s, with short facial hair and rimless glasses, wearing a dark grey bomber jacket.
Cash and travellers cheques stolen
The second offence took place at Linacre Court on the same day between 3pm and 3.15pm.
A couple, also in their 80s, opened the door to a man claiming to be from the council who said he was concerned about flooding coming through from upstairs.
He entered the kitchen with the husband and fiddled with the sink, before he also asked the wife into the kitchen to listen.
The victims did not see anyone else, but the man left suddenly after 10 minutes and the couple then realised their bedroom had been searched.
Cash of around £100 plus £80 in travellers cheques was stolen.
CCTV images showed four men entering the block and leaving.
One of the suspects was described as being in his late 20s to early 30s, of stocky build, with short blond hair and wearing a faded blue striped shirt and beige trousers.
Jewellery worth £4,000
A final burglary took place on the following day at around 4.45pm in Riverside Gardens, at the home of a couple in their late 70s and early 80s.
Again a man claiming to be from the council knocked on their door and said he was worried about flooding.
The victims later realised a handbag had been raided and £530 in cash stolen, along with three rings with diamonds and sapphires worth £4,000 and five gold bangles.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Metropolitan Police on 101.