POLICE are appealing for information following a theft at the home of a 91-year-old woman by a suspected bogus trader.

Officers were called to Boswoth Road in Chain Lane on Friday, June 13 by a member of the OAP’s family who said that a man had called at the house at around 1pm.

He claimed to know some of the victim’s family and claimed that some of her roof tiles needed fixing.

A short time later he said that the work had been completed and charged her £170 which she handed over to him and asked for a receipt.

The offender said he would get one but didn’t return. No work was carried out on the roof.

He is described as white and in his 50s, approximately 5ft 8in tall and of a slim build. He had a white beard and greyish hair.

He is believed to have been wearing a black top and pants and a hi-vis jacket and was carrying a bucket.

Detective Constable Victoria Grant St Helens CID said: "It's hard to believe anyone would stoop so low as to steal money from a 91-year-old woman and we are doing everything we can to arrest the cowardly individual who's responsible.

"The victim has given us a very clear description of the man who called at her home and I would appeal to anyone who recognises anything to get in touch with us.

"Offenders like this think nothing of deliberately targeting elderly people in their own homes and often appear entirely plausible.

"If you think you may have been targeted by this offender or you have suffered any type of bogus official or distraction burglary, I would urge you to call the police. I want to take this opportunity to reassure people that we take every report we receive extremely seriously and will carry out a full and thorough investigation.

"Anyone with information can call detectives in St Helens CID on 0151 777 6811, or via the police non-emergency 101 number. Alternatively, reports can be made to Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111."

DC Grant added: "I would also appeal to people across St Helens to keep an eye on any elderly and vulnerable neighbours. If you notice anyone suspicious in the area, always call the police or contact your local neighbourhood policing team for more advice.

There are a number of simple steps we can all take to help prevent this type of crime. They include:

  • Do not open your door if you are unsure who the caller is. Always make sure you know who visitors are by asking to see their identification. Never let people into your property if you don't know them
  • Always keep the key chain on the door whilst talking to callers and always check their ID before letting them into your home. Genuine callers won't mind you doing this. If callers haven't got valid identification, don't let them in
  • Bogus callers often pretend to be someone official, for example, from a utility company or the water board. They will also try to distract people by asking for a drink of water or if they can use the toilet. Remember "if in doubt, keep them out"
  • Ensure that if you do let somebody into your home close the door behind them.
  • Bogus callers are often linked to distraction burglars where someone will distract you while others sneak in through an insecure door
  • Remember to close and lock the back door before you answer the front door. It's a good idea to have a viewer or spy hole and a stout chain fitted to all the external doors to the property
  • Don't keep large quantities of cash at home. It's better in the bank where it's safe - If someone asks for your help (for example they want to make a telephone call or claim to have lost a ball in your garden) always ask a friend or neighbour, or someone else you trust, for help.