Police issue picture of man suspected of preying on Norwich pensioners

Police have warned people in and around Norwich to watch out for a conman who has been tricking his way into the homes of pensioners and stealing their cash.

There has been a sudden spate in what are known as distraction burglaries in Norfolk over recent weeks – where elderly people are tricked into letting a person into their house who then burgles them. Police have taken the unusual step of issuing a photograph of a man they believe is responsible for the crimes – 31-year-old Luke Wall.

They hope issuing the photograph will prevent more pensioners from falling victim to the con and could lead to the public helping to catch the crook.

Officers from Operation RaDaR, Norfolk police's specialist team which deals with doorstep crime, say Wall, who also goes under the name of James Daly, is believed to be moving around Norfolk committing the burglaries.

He is thought to be connected to a number of offences ranging from Norwich to Horsford, Aylsham and King's Lynn, knocking on the doors of pensioners and claiming to be from the water board.

The pensioners are tricked into letting him in so he can check on a nearby water leak. But once inside their homes, money has been stolen.

The latest offences took place on Monday night at homes in Horsham St Faith Norwich, prompting concern from police that he is now operating in and around the city.

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At 7.30pm on Monday a home in The Warren in Horsham St Faith was targeted by a man pretending to be from the water board who stole money from the purse of the elderly woman who lived there.

About an hour later a 92-year-old woman was also the victim of a distraction burglar at her home in Clabon Road, in the north of Norwich, off Sprowston Road.

A person also called at a home in Drayton just after 6pm on Friday claiming to be from the water board and tried to convince the homeowner to let them in.

Other crimes or attempted cons have also taken place in King's Lynn, Northwold, Wisbech and Dereham.

Wall is described as a white man who looks between 20 and 30 years old. He is slim and often wears a woolly beanie style hat or one with flaps.

Police would recommend that he is not approached and that members of the public with any information about his whereabouts call them straight away.

Det Supt Nick Dean said the offences had occurred throughout the day and into the late evening.

He added: 'These offences are committed by people who have no regard for vulnerable people. They have no conscience about the impact this type of crime has on the victim, often lasting many years.

'We need the public to be alert and report anything suspicious to us immediately.'

Police advise householders not to allow entry to their homes without first checking the identity of the callers. If in any doubt, they are advised not let them in and call the police.

Detectives are also urging neighbours of elderly people to be extra vigilant.

Anyone with information about Wall's whereabouts should contact police on 0845 4564567 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.