Brazen thieves dressed in high visibility jackets and hard hats have stolen thousands of pounds worth of copper roofing from a Parson's Green block of flats. Posing as workmen the thieves climbed up the scaffolding outside Alex Gossip House, in Basuto Road, at around 8am on Feb 25.
They spoke to residents and made no attempt to hide what they were doing before making away with about a third of the copper roof. By 11.30am they had gone taking with them the roofs over three top floor flats.
Residents assumed they had been hired by H&F Homes which has commissioned works on the site for a number of weeks.
Mother-of-two Malika Choudhury, left for work at 7am but was told by a neighbour that workmen had started to take off the roof. She returned home to find the roofing gone over her childrens' bedroom.
"I couldn't believe it, how can my children sleep in there?" she said. "H&F Homes never tell us what work they are doing, so how are we supposed to know if the workmen are legitimate or not?"
"The scaffolding was put up a couple of weeks ago and just left there, so when these people came along they had an easy way up to the roof," added leaseholder Jennifer Barry. "We had no idea whether any work was meant to be done on the roof, if we did someone would have called the police, but H&F Homes never tell us anything before they do it."
Her partner Eamon Chambers was at Alex Gossip House while the fake builders were stealing the roof.
"I said 'hello mate' to one of them and asked what they were putting up there and he said 'felt'," he added. "He didn't flinch, didn't seem nervous at all. Maybe I was a bit naïve but they put up the scaffolding two weeks ago, so I assumed the workmen had finally arrived."
The penny dropped when contractors from Balfour Beatty arrived and were quizzed over the roof work they had not done.
Hammersmith and Fulham Police confirmed they are now investigating the theft.
Copper roofing is durable and lightweight but costs around £8 a square foot compared to 50p for an asphalt roof. The price of copper has surged in recent months leading to a spate of thefts across the country by organised gangs who sell stolen copper roofs, wire and plates.