Police appeal for information after 93-year-old woman is left ‘afraid whenever the doorbell rings’

The man wanted by police for questioning in connection with the burglary

The man wanted by police for questioning in connection with the burglary - Credit: Archant

A 93-year-old woman has said she has been left “afraid whenever the doorbell rings” after being repeatedly targeted and robbed by conmen pretending to be water maintenance workers.

Frances Whitehead, who lives in a sheltered housing development in West Hampstead and suffers memory lapses, said the thefts have left her “afraid and suspicious” of any stranger who now comes to her door.

The latest robbery – the third in little over two years – occurred while she was at home on October 10 after a man claimed to be there to “check her water”.

As a victim of fraudsters with similar back stories before, Mrs Whitehead tried to close the door before the man “pushed me aside and barged into my home”.

The elderly woman questioned him as he rummaged through her kitchen and cupboards to “check the pipes”.

After eventually telling him she was going to call the police, he left.

She later discovered a small amount of money was missing from her purse.

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The repeated targeting of the pensioner has reached such levels that police even paid for CCTV cameras at her home.

The police have also since relaunched a picture appeal for a man they wish to speak to in relation to the latest robbery.

Another appeal was launched this week after fraudsters targeted yet another vulnerable elderly woman in Belsize Park on the afternoon of Thursday, October 24.

The pensioner was approached by a man claiming to be from a property management company which maintained her building.

After insisting she owed them £2,900 for a boiler, the man persuaded the confused lady to get into a white vehicle containing two other men.

Driving to her home and waiting outside her door, the men told her to withdraw cash.

When she returned one of the men grabbed the money and her handbag and ran off while the other two quickly drove away.

Police are eager to speak to anyone with information on either incident. They are asked to call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.