Police warn East Lancashire elderly after spate of distraction burglaries

POLICE are warning elderly people across East Lancashire to be vigilant after a series of distraction burglaries across the area.

In the space of five days, police received three reports of potential distraction burglaries in Bacup, Rossendale and Helmshore and officers believe they may be linked.

The first occurred at an address in Bacup on May 6th. A man entered the house through the unlocked front door and, on coming across the resident in the hallway, asked to be taken through to the back garden to look at damage to the fence. As he was taken through, it is thought a second man has gone into the bedroom and stolen cash.

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Two males where seen in the area by witnesses a short time later and are believed to be involved in the incident. They are described as white, smartly dressed, wearing white shirts, black ties and baseball caps. They were of average height and build.

The second incident took place around 1-30 p.m. on May 9th when an elderly woman, waiting for a bus, was approached by two men in a dark coloured vehicle who identified themselves as workmen and claimed to have done work for her and asking her where she lived. Shortly afterwards, a man visited the address in Alder Bank claiming to be a builder. He pushed past the lady’s husband who answered the door and demanded £20; however the occupant did not have the money and told the man he would get his pension at the end of the week. The man then left in a black car.

The third incident took place on May 11th at a property in Helmshore Road, Rossendale. It is thought around 10-10 p.m. two men approached the house and broke in through the front door, they searched two rooms upstairs however, the house alarm began to sound and they ran from the address. The males where then picked up in a car which drove off towards Holcombe Road.

DC Neil Scholes, of Rossendale CID, said: “There is the potential these incidents could be linked and I would appeal for anyone who may have seen men matching either of the descriptions in any of the above areas to come forward and contact police.

“I would also advise residents to be extra vigilant and to check ID before allowing a caller into their home. If in doubt – call the police.”

Anyone with any information about either offence should contact Lancashire Police on 08451 25 35 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.