£3,000 reward to find Highbury distraction burglars who prey on elderly

Distraction burglary suspect

Distraction burglary suspect - Credit: Archant

Crimestoppers are offering a £3,000 reward to anyone who can help them catch a gang of distraction burglars who robbed an elderly woman in Highbury.

Distraction burglary suspect

Distraction burglary suspect - Credit: Archant

The suspects who are believed to be working in a team of three or four, are responsible for as many as 35 incidents across London and the south East.

Homeowners in their 70s, 80s and 90s are being duped in to letting the gang in to their homes with false stories about burst pipes, gas explosions, water leaks or simply a lost football.

In one case in September last year at a property in Highbury Grange, the gang stole £200 from an 83-year-old pensioner’s purse under the guise that they were there to fix her windows.

The gang has also tricked their way in to properties by pretending to be from the council or local police.

Distraction burglary suspect

Distraction burglary suspect - Credit: Archant

Julia Hughes, regional manager for Crimestoppers, said: “This is a despicable series of crimes against elderly and vulnerable people in their own homes.

“We should all feel safe and secure at home and these incidents will have left the victims feeling anxious and scared.”

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In the Highbury incident in September, the victim had been expecting a workman.

She let the first man in to fix her windows and after a short time she noticed two other men enter her house.

The first offender directed her into the kitchen and told her fill her kettle to check for leaks and whilst she was distracted the offenders searched the property and £200 was stolen from her purse. The woman challenged the first offender and asked to see their ID and he explained it was in the van before she asked them to leave.

Hertfordshire police have released images of three men sought in relation to the offences. They have also released a photo of a three-door silver Audi A3 sport – a car which they believe has been seen at the scene of some of the crimes.

Anyone who has information on the gang is being asked to call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. A £3,00 reward will be given for information that leads to the men being prosecuted.