POLICE are advising residents to be vigilant following reports of two distraction burglaries in the Witham area.

Officers with Essex Police were called with reports that a woman aged in her 90s had been followed into her home after returning from her friend's house.

The incident took place on Maldon Road at around 4pm on Thursday 30 July.

The suspect was described as a woman aged in her 20s.

Further description says she was tall and slim with dark hair, and was wearing a face mask.

The victim also said the woman spoke with a foreign accent.

She began to search through cupboards and draws but Essex Police say the victim managed to persuade the woman to leave.

Nothing was reported stolen and ,while the victim was left understandably shaken by the incident, she was not harmed.

At around 11.30am on Monday 3 August, a second incident took place.

A man offered to carry out maintenance work on a property on Barwell Way for an agreed price.

While working, the man said he had found a wasps' nest and that he would remove it for an additional charge.

As the victim was looking for the nest, the man went inside and stole cash from the property.

Braintree and Uttlesford District Commander, Chief Inspector Janette Rawlingson said:

"Our investigations are continuing into these crimes and we are working to establish whether the two incidents are linked.

"We want to remind people to stay vigilant and be aware of criminals who are willing to take advantage of, and target, vulnerable members of our community.

“These people are very convincing and often carry fake identification, going to great lengths to try and gain access to your home.

"Our advice is to not let anyone into your home who you don’t know and we recommend that if you need work carrying out on your property, use traders you trust or have used before.

"Alternatively visit the buy with confidence website - a scheme set up by Trading Standards where you can find traders who have been vetted and approved by Trading Standards."

If you were in the area of Maldon Road around 4pm on 30 July or Barwell Way around 11.30am on 3 August, and witnessed any suspicious behaviour then we want to hear from you.

Please report any information you have here.

Alternatively you can call 101 or contact independent charity Crimestoppers completely anonymously.


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