Distraction burglar made off with �1,400 from a Bethnal Green home

Police are hunting a heartless burglar who made off with �1,400 from a pensioner after claiming the pipes in her home were leaking during a distraction burglary in Bethnal Green.

The 72-year-old woman opened the door of her home about 1pm on Friday to a man who said he was working in the flat below her and needed access to the pipes in her home, but she refused to let him in.

But the man who is described as white, 5 foot 9ins tall and aged in his mid 20s returned at 4.30pm and told her this time that her pipes were leaking and he was let into the flat at Butler House in Bacton Street. But the resident became suspicious when he asked her to turn on her taps and asked him to leave.

She later discovered that �1,400 of cash was missing and jewellery had also been stolen from her home.

The man was wearing a black zip jacket and light blue denim jeans.

Police believe a second man ran away with him, but do not believe he went into the flat.

In an unrelated incident on the same day a 78-year-old woman was visited by a caller who wanted to come inside her home in Seagrove Close, off Wellesley Street in Stepney, and said he needed to check her home for water coming down from the flat above her home.

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He was invited in and asked the woman to turn on her taps, check the boiler and take him to the bathroom.

He left after five to 10 minutes and said he would return.

No property was taken.

Police described the man as white, 5 foot 6ins tall. He was wearing a brown coat and dark jumper.

Detective Sergeant Cliff Jones from the robbery squad said: “Distraction burglars prey on the most vulnerable members of our society and rely on their trusting nature. It is important to always check identification and if you have any doubts, tell them to wait while you call the police.

“If they are genuine workmen they won’t mind.”

He added: “The police will always respond quickly, and no-one should be concerned about waiting our time -we are happy to help.”