Police hunt for Shenfield ‘water board’ distraction burglars

Efit of the man posing as a water board official. Picture: Essex Police.

Efit of the man posing as a water board official. Picture: Essex Police. - Credit: Archant

A man and his accomplice have been posing as water board officials to steal money and valuables in Shenfield.

Police have issued an efit image of the man, who distracted two elderly people while his accomplice made away with money and jewellery.

The pair struck twice last Thursday in Hutton Road, Shenfield, and stole £80 from a man in his 70s at about 1.30pm before stealing cash and jewellery at another property a few minutes later, from a woman in her 70s.

The man gained entry to the flats after he claimed that there had been an explosion in the water mains and that he was checking all homes in the area to see if water supplies were working.

The man distracted the victims by checking the taps in their homes with them while his accomplice entered the properties and stole the money and jewellery.

Investigating officer DC Paul Burnett said: “These were appalling crimes and both victims have been badly shaken by what happened. The jewellery taken from the woman’s home was of great sentimental value and included her engagement and eternity ring from her late husband.”

He added: “One of her husband’s rings belonged to his father and was more than 100 years old.”

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The suspect is aged about 35 and is about 5ft 11in, with short dark hair and of chubby build.

He was wearing a grey suit, had a red NHS lanyard around his neck and is thought to have crooked teeth.

DC Burnett added: “We urge people to be on their guard against these criminals. Please look closely at the efit and if you do see this man in the area call 999 immediately.”

Anyone with information should contact DC Burnett at Brentwood CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.