Bogus callers target pensioners in 'devastating' night of crime

Bogus callers carried out a series of "abhorrent" raids on vulnerable pensioners in a three-hour spree across the Black Country.

Police will be patrolling this weekend
Police will be patrolling this weekend

West Midlands Police today said it is a top priority to trace those behind the "devastating" spate of distraction raids.

The raids happened in Wolverhampton, Bilston, Willenhall, Dudley, Kingswinford and Stourbridge.

West Midlands Police say the crime spree took place within a three hours on Friday evening.

A team of detectives have been tasked with trawling CCTV as an investigation was launched.

Crooks pretended to be from the gas or water board or Wolverhampton Council to gain entry to people's homes - or just forcing their way in.

In Redhurst Drive, Fordhouses, Wolverhampton, three men claiming to be from the gas board stole jewellery and a handbag from an 86-year-old woman before making off in a small grey car.

They pretended that an explosion had taken place inside and that they needed access to her home. It happened at around 6.15pm.

Thirty minutes later three masked men struck in Lower Gornal at the home of an 88-year-old man, where they searched the property but left empty-handed.

At 6.55pm an 80-year-old man also suffered bruising after he was pushed into a chair as three burglars forced their way into his home in Willenhall Road, Portobello.

The men, who originally had pretended to be from Wolverhampton Council, stole a small quantity of cash before fleeing in a small dark-coloured car.

And an 83-year-old woman had her phone snatched from her as she tried to call relatives for help as two burglars claiming to be from the water board searched her home in The Lunt, Bilston.

The Bilston raid happened at around 7.45pm.

In two other incidents in Stourbridge at 8.20pm and Kingswinford at 9.15pm, men are believed to have fled in a vehicle.

A door and window were forced at the home of an 89-year-old woman before an untidy search was made, while in the second incident, a 69-year-old man discovered his front door had been kicked open and offenders were running away from the scene.

The force believe some of the raids may be linked but and investigation is looking into the circumstances.

The force has yet to confirm if officers believe the burglaries or attempted burglaries are linked.

Police have issued a warning to neighbours – and have said they will be carrying out reassurance patrols this weekend.

Inspector Rod Rose, from force CID, said: "These crimes, often targetting the elderly and frail, are devastating for the victims and abhorrent to us.

"So for officers across the Black Country identifying and arresting these offenders is a top priority.

"We are asking the public to help by reporting anything suspicious in their area.

"We would also ask people to keep a look-out for friends, relatives and neighbours, especially with the weather turning colder."

Officers made a number of arrests in connection with the raids.

Anyone with information should get in touch via Live Chat at west-midlands.police.uk 8am - midnight, or call 101 anytime. In an emergency dial 999 immediately.

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