Elderly residents in Wheathampstead have been targeted in distraction burglaries police warn.

Detectives from Operation Manhunt, Hertfordshire Constabulary’s team are asking residents to remain vigilant following the incidents which see a woman knocks at the residents’ door claiming to be working on a neighbouring property.

She informs the victim she has accidentally put blue ink into the water system and needs to get into the victim’s property to check the water supply for the ink.

Details of the incidents are as follows:
• At 3.30pm on Tuesday, May 13 at the home of an elderly couple in Harpenden Road, Wheathampstead. The victims let the offender in but nothing was stolen. (Crime reference F1/14/1542)

• At 3.35pm on Tuesday, May 13 at the home of a woman in her 80s in Old Harpenden Road, Wheathampstead. The woman let the offender in but refused to let her be alone in the house. No items were stolen. (Crime reference F1/14/1543)

Detective Sergeant Alex Tyrrell said: “In the majority of cases the residents let the woman in but didn’t leave her alone in their property, which is good, but we’d urge people faced with a similar call at the door not to let them in in the first place. We know this is a con used to gain access to the property to commit a burglary.

“These criminals prey on the victim’s good nature so we must ensure people are aware of these tactics so they say no at the door.

“I would urge people never to open the door to a caller you are not expecting, and if you do get a suspicious call, contact police immediately. As we have seen in these cases, it is the older people in our communities who are being targeted so I would ask people to pass this message to their older friends or relatives.

“I would also urge anyone who has been approached in the same way, or who saw any suspicious activity in these locations when the incidents happened to contact police immediately.”