‘Do not open the door to unexpected callers’

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Elderly people are being warned to stay vigilant following a string of distraction burglaries across Hertfordshire.

One of the 11 burglaries took place on Saturday, December 8 in Bracknall Place, Hemel Hempstead.

In most cases a man knocks at the door of an elderly person, claiming to be carrying out building work in a neighbouring property.

He says that he has burst a pipe and needs to check the victim’s water supply, distracting them while a second man enters the property and carries out the burglary.

The crooks are described as white, with Irish accents, aged between 30 and 50. One man is very slim and the second is said to be larger.

Det sgt Alex Tyrrell from the specialist team Operation Manhunt, said: “We believe all of these crimes are linked due to the descriptions of the offenders and the method they are using.

“These offenders are specifically targeting the elderly, because they are often more trusting of callers.

“I’d reassure people that we have a team of specialist officers investigating these burglaries.

“However, in the meantime I would urge people to be extra vigilant and to remind their older friends and relatives not to open the door to anyone they are not expecting.

“I’d also like to hear from anyone who may have had a similar call at their door, or if you believe you have witnessed any of these incidents.”

Anybody with information should call the police on 0845 33 00 222.