Distraction burglaries in West Sussex - police warning

POLICE have issued a warning about bogus callers in West Sussex after two residents were targeted on Saturday (April 9).

At around 11.30am on Saturday a man called at the Steyning home of a woman in her 90s. He claimed to be working on the drains at the property next door and asked if she was having problems.

The victim and the man went into the back garden of her Cripps Lane property, leaving the rear door to the property open, to look at a tree which they thought might be causing drainage issues.

They then returned to the property and the victim agreed to pay the man £80 to do some work on the tree.

After the man had left she discovered that an envelope containing £500 had been taken from the lounge.

Around the same time on Saturday a woman in her 80s at a property in Landseer Drive, Selsey, was visited by two males, one of whom claimed to be the son of a builder that did work on her garage roof 10 years ago.

They said they had returned to carry out an inspection of the garage. The pair claimed that work was needed to the garage roof and demanded money to carry out the repairs.

They drove the victim to the Post Office where she withdrew £300 for the men, however it appears that no work was carried out.

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said: “Distraction burglary is a hideous crime that causes great distress to the most vulnerable members of our community. We take it extremely seriously and are doing all we can to tackle it.

“Residents are reminded to be on their guard at all times when approached by strangers at their homes. Keep your doors locked, even though it may be tempting to keep them open in this warm weather.

“When answering your door keep the door chain on and ask to see ID. If you are unsure about who the callers are then refuse them entry and call police if you think they are suspicious.”

Anyone with information about these incidents, or who would like to speak to their local officer about crime prevention advice, is asked to contact Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 quoting Operation Inroad.