Hornchurch widow, 88, appeals for witnesses after two burglaries this month
PUBLISHED: 07:00 22 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:18 22 August 2014
Police are warning the elderly to be wary after an 88-year-old woman was conned and robbed by doorstep thieves twice this month.
Havering police are hunting for a couple who staged the latest con in Hornchurch on Sunday – and believe they were responsible for a similar theft from a 90-year-old woman in Romford the day before.
PCSO Sue Sullivan, of Romford Safer Neighbourhoods Team, urged elderly residents to be alert after another lost £50,000 to fraudsters posing as bank staff.
Joyce Headington, of Albany Road, Hornchurch, spoke to the Recorder to appeal for witnesses to come forward after the widow of a Second World War veteran was struck by deception thieves twice in less than two weeks.
“I wish they could catch the buggers and put them away for a long time,” she said.
She opened the door on August 6 to a man who pleaded for £15 for a neighbour take a cab to a London hospital where his brother was dying.
Mrs Headington gave him the money, but he then requested a glass of water. “Make it as cold as possible,” he said as she was in the kitchen. When she returned, he had gone and so had her purse containing £400.
Then, on Sunday, she opened the door to a woman who claimed her tortoise had crawled into Mrs Headington’s back garden.
The widow shouted and refused her entry, but a man had entered through the back door. He knocked her down and snatched her handbag which contained the lead of her dog that died earlier this month.
“That’s the worst thing they did to me,” she said.
Det Con Ed Gooderson, of Havering CID, urged witnesses to the attack, and to another on a 90-year-old woman in Romford on Saturday, to get in touch. The two are believed to be linked.
He said: “This is a disgusting crime that preys on the most vulnerable among our community. Both victims had hundreds of pounds taken from them that they are not in a position to replace.
“Please help us to keep victims to a minimum by ensuring that any elderly or vulnerable people you care for are aware of these thieves.”
Police said the female suspect was described as white, in her mid to late twenties and about 5ft 5in with long, dark hair. The man is also said to be 5ft 5in and white. He is slim and bald.
Anyone with information should contact police on 101, quoting 5412146/14, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.