Highgate woman, 85, hit by water scam for the second time

The conmen posed as Thames Water workers. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

The conmen posed as Thames Water workers. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

A retired Whittington secretary who has twice been burgled by bogus water board workers at her Highgate home will be reimbursed – after the Ham&High got involved.

The 85-year-old victim, who has asked not to be named, was tricked by two conmen who asked to check the water pressure in her kitchen.

Once inside her flat in Langbourne Avenue, one man distracted her while the other searched through her things and stole a handbag containing £500.

She said: “I’m handicapped and I can’t move quickly, so I couldn’t rush out the door after them.

“I was shaken but then I just carried on with what I had to do and cancelled my cards and everything.”

The conmen said her upstairs neighbour had a new washing machine, using it as an excuse to check her water pressure. `

The victim, who lives alone, said: “It was actually true – she did have a new washing machine.

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“I don’t think they could have guessed that so I wonder if they were watching the avenues and saw it delivered?”

She had saved up the £500 as holiday money so she could go and visit her son in Holbrook, near Ipswich.

Sadly, it’s the second time she had been fleeced by fake water workers. A few years ago, two men pretending to represent Thames Water pulled off the same trick.

She said the incidents have made her home of 40 years feel unsafe.

What’s more, her insurer More Than initially refused to pay out because she let the men in herself.

Bur after the Ham&High contacted it, the firm backpedalled and said: “We would like to say sorry to [her] and are now paying her claim in full – as part of our apology we will also pay the excess on the claim.

“While the claims handler was not incorrect to deny the claim, upon further examination, we feel in this instance [she] could not have reasonably been expected to realise the gentlemen were not genuine water board employees and on this basis, we have decided to honour her claim.”

Det Con Alina Blain of the Central North Command Unit said: “This was a brazen and callous theft. Our work continues to identify these two men and I would ask anyone who was in the area of Langbourne Avenue at about 11.50am on May 16 and saw anything that could assist this inquiry to contact police.”

Both suspects are white, with one being about 5ft 5ins tall, of stocky build with short grey hair and wearing faded blue clothing.

The second was slim and in his 20s with longish dark hair and a strong Irish accent.

Call police on 101 quoting ref number CAD 3259 of May 16 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.