A pensioner had her handbag stolen from her North Tyneside home.
A man called at an address on Hillshead Road in Whitley Bay, between noon and 2pm on Saturday, July 18, and asked the occupant, a woman in her 70s, for an envelope so he could push a note through a neighbour’s door who wasn’t home.
The woman went back into the house to get this for him. However on her return to the front door, the man had left and her handbag had been stolen from the hallway.
The man is described as white, aged between 40 and 50, tall and slim with a bald head or short fair hair. He was well spoken and wearing a short sleeved top.
Anyone who recognises the man, saw him in the street or call at the address is asked to contact police.
Officers are also urging people to be vigilant when answering the door to someone unexpected who could be a bogus caller.
Chief Inspector Dave Gould said: “A bogus caller isn’t just someone posing as an official from a company, it can be someone asking for a glass of water, to use a telephone, or as we’ve seen in this case, for an envelope.
“However I would say to people if you don’t know who the caller is, you don’t have to answer the door to them. If you do, you certainly don’t have to carry out their requests no matter how innocent they may seem.
“I would advise people never to allow a stranger access to their home. Even by leaving them on the doorstep they can still look for easily taken items in the porch or hallway.
“If someone is claiming to be an official, then make sure to ask for ID to confirm this. If you’re still unsure, ask them to call back later and make a call to the company they say they’re from.
“If you have any suspicions at all then ask a caller to leave and contact police.
“I’d also ask people to consider their neighbours who are elderly or vulnerable and whether any visitors they have may be unexpected or behave in a way which causes concern.
“Our enquiries are continuing into this incident and I’d urge any witnesses or anyone with information to come forward.”
People can contact police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 621 19/07/15 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.