Man, 74, targeted by bogus official

editorial image

Police are hunting a thief who posed as a gardener before stealing two briefcases from a 74-year-old man in St Helens.

Police say the pensioner was targeted at his home in Fairholme Avenue in Eccleston Park at around 1pm on Tuesday (September 13).

He approached the homeowner offering to do some gardening work.

The victim invited the man inside and the offender helped him onto a chair on the ground floor of the house before making his way upstairs.

The victim later discovered two briefcases - which contained personal information - had been stolen.

They were later discovered abandoned in Rainhill by a member of the public.

Police say the suspect is white, in his early 20s, about 5’ 8” tall, of a large build and had light coloured hair.

Det Sgt Chris Loughead, from St Helens CID, said: “It is difficult to believe anyone would deliberately target vulnerable people, and I am sure the community would agree that it has no place on Merseyside. We will do everything possible to catch those responsible.

“Offenders like this think nothing of deliberately targeting elderly people in their own homes and often appear entirely plausible.

“If you think you may have been targeted by this offender or you have suffered any type of bogus official or distraction burglary, I would urge you to call the police.

“It is vital people are on their guard against these types of offenders and do not open their door to anyone they don’t know. Although most people who call at your home are genuine, some are not and it is important to check the identity of any stranger who calls.

“Genuine callers will not mind waiting and should be carrying an official form of identification associated with their employment.”

Sgt Loughead added: “There are some simple steps people can take to help prevent these types of crimes, but I’d also urge residents to look out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours.

“If you notice someone suspicious in the area, call the police or contact your local neighbourhood policing team for more advice.

“Information from the public is really important for our investigations and every piece of information is looked into so please come forward if you know anything about this matter.”

If you have any information on this incident, please call Merseyside Police on 0151 777 6013 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.