Warning following burglaries in St Albans

A WARNING has been issued by police following three distraction burglaries targeting elderly residents in the area over the past week.

On New Year’s Eve in Harpenden Road, St Albans, near to Batchwood, a girl knocked at the door of a woman in her 70s at around 6.30pm and claimed that she had cut her hand and needed to run it under a tap.

While the victim was distracted in the kitchen with the girl, a man entered the home and removed her handbag, which contained cash, before leaving with his accomplice.

Two further incidents happened at 6pm and 6.15pm in Deans Gardens and Sandridge Road, St Albans, on Wednesday (January 5) evening in which a girl also claimed she had cut her hand and asked for help.

Similarly, the victims – a woman in her late 80s and another aged 90 – let her into their properties and a man also entered and after a search stole their handbags, both of which contained cash.

Two similar incidents have since been reported elsewhere in the county, in Hertford and Ware, and all are thought to be linked.

Detective Inspector Gerry McDonald said: “We are treating all of these incidents as being linked due to the descriptions of the offenders and the method they are using.

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“We have a specialist team of officers investigating these burglaries and we will leave no stone unturned in tracking them down. These are cowardly incidents targeting the elderly and vulnerable people in our communities and in the meantime I would urge people to be extra vigilant and urge people to remind their older friends and relatives not to open the door to anyone they are not expecting.

He added: “Incidents such as these are drastically reducing in Hertfordshire and this year incidents have fallen by a third. However, these incidents do serve as examples where the offenders will take advantage of a victim’s kindness to gain entry to their house and subsequently steal from them.”

In the first incident the girl was described as white, aged between 12 and 13, around 5ft tall with a slim build and very long dark brown hair which was tied in a ponytail. She was wearing a multi coloured top and dark trousers.

The man was described as white, aged between 30 and 39 with a thin build and short dark brown hair. He was wearing a black jacket with the zip undone and dark trousers. He was also said to have a thin face.

In the second two incidents, the girl was described as white, aged 15 to 20 years of age, with a slim build and brown shoulder length heair and was wearing dark clothing. Her accomplice was described as white, aged between 30 and 35, between 5ft 11ins and 6ft 1ins, with a slim build and he was wearing dark clothing.

If you have any information about the incidents, call police on 0845 33 00 222 but call 999 if you suspect a crime is in progress or you believe someone is acting suspiciously around your neighbour’s property.