Elderly resident has money stolen from her home

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Police are advising residents to be on their guard after an elderly resident was targeted by thieves and had money stolen from her Northumberland home.

At noon yesterday, the 76-year-old woman, from Morpeth, answered a knock at her door from two men who offered to carry out gardening work. The woman agreed and money was handed over for the work. After the workmen left, she found a large quantity of cash and bank cards had been stolen from inside the property.

Morpeth Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Anderson said: "Officers are making inquires into this incident and we're keen to hear from anyone who may have any information that could help to contact us. If anyone has received a call from men claiming to be carrying out work in the area, we would ask them to get in contact."

The appeal is part of Operation Strongbow - an initiative which targets doorstep crimes and distraction burglaries.

Inspector Anderson said: "Callers who turn-up unannounced, whether they're claiming to be carrying out work or selling something, should always be treated with caution.

"It's a timely reminder for people to be vigilant. Always check identities of workmen and the company's credentials before agreeing to work being carried out. Never agree to work being done by people who cold call at your home and never leave people alone in the house, even for a few seconds. I'd also advise to move out of sight any cash or valuables.

"Genuine callers will not mind being asked to come back at a different time so their identification can be checked or while arrangements are made for a relative or friend to be present when they return. People should also look out for elderly relatives and neighbours and report any suspicious people or vehicles they see in their community to police. If in doubt, contact officers."

To report any information about the incident, contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 538 07/12/15 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.