CON artists stealing from the elderly while posing as utility workers are on the rise.
Police say there has been a recent increase in cases where suspects have said they either work for the 'water board' or that they are working on a nearby house and need to check the victim's water supply.
Once in the house they distract the owner while an accomplice steals belongings.
There have been 12 such burglaries in Hounslow since March, including Gunyah Court in Spencer Road, Chiswick, St Albans Avenue, Hatton Road and The Alders, all in Feltham.
A Hounslow police spokesman said: "The suspects have targeted the most vulnerable members of our community. Victims of these burglaries are in their 70s and 80s and can be traumatised by these crimes."
Police are warning people to beware of bogus callers. They recommend always checking callers' ID and refusing them entry if at all concerned. Utility workers will always carry ID and have a central telephone number to confirm it.
Call police on 0300 123 1212 or dial 999 in an emergency. * Police are also warning shed owners to be wary after a spate of thefts. Tools and bicycles were stolen from three sheds across Chiswick and Feltham last weekend.
Police recommend chaining garden tools together and securing them to a solid wall or floor anchor.
If expensive tools have to be stored in the shed, consider buying a strong lockable box or cage.
Bikes should also be chained together and ideally locked to a secure cycle rack. Shed alarms can also be bought.