POLICE in Redditch are warning householders to be on the alert after two elderly residents were targeted by thieves using distraction methods.

On Tuesday, March 18 at 4pm a man posing as a tradesman went to a home in Abbeydale, Redditch, claiming to check the electrics. He told the occupier to leave the room as there could be sparks while he carried out his check.

He then left saying he needed another tool or piece of equipment. When the elderly resident went back into the room, the man had gone and her purse containing £800 was missing.

The man is described as white, about 6ft tall, with short hair, of slim build and was wearing a yellow fluorescent sleeveless top and white helmet.

Detective Constable Stuart Mitchinson said: “We would like to hear from anyone who saw this man in the Abbeydale area of Redditch on Tuesday to contact us and also anyone who recognises this man from the description.”

Another distraction burglary took place at 4pm on Saturday, March 15 at Willow Way, Redditch, when the occupants of a house returned home from shopping they were followed into their house by a woman asking for money for a phone call.

The woman was given some change but sat in the living room chatting for a few minutes. After she left, the residents noticed a wallet containing bank cards and a driving licence, as well as a £20 left on a worktop, was missing.

The woman is described as aged between 45 and 50, with a dark complexion, possible Asian, 5ft 2in tall, plumpish with black hair.

She was wearing a yellow blouse with black flowers and had gold bangles on her right arm.

DC Mitchinson said: “Again we would like to hear from anyone who saw this woman or knows her from the description.

“We also want to warn residents to make sure they do not let any strangers into their home unless they have genuine ID. If they say they are from one of the utility companies or the council, ask for their ID and make them wait outside while you ring their employer, using a number on the phone book.

“Also we urge people to keep their doors and windows locked so unwanted visitors cannot gain access to their property.

"Also never leave a stranger alone in a room where money is kept.”

Anyone with information about these two incidents is asked to ring the non emergency number 101 and ask for DC Mitchinson at police in Redditch.

Alternatively information can be passed on anonymously by calling the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or crimestoppers-uk.org.