A well-spoken, glamorous woman calling at flats in Hastings is believed to have been responsible for two distraction burglaries in which wallets, purses and handbags were stolen.
The suspect has targeted two women, aged 86 and 90, on separate occasions since the beginning of the month. Both victims live in the same block of flats in Denmark Place and police investigating the thefts believe they may be linked.
In one incident, on Monday 2 April, the thief befriended her victim by helping her home in windy conditions, only to steal cash from her purse once inside. She then returned to help herself to more cash the following day, and on Wednesday 4 April, while accompanied by a scruffy looking man, snatched the victim's handbag before running off.
On Sunday (8 April) at 5.30pm the second victim acceded to a request by a "glamorous woman with an educated voice" to use her telephone because the woman's grandmother had suddenly fallen ill. While there the suspect asked for a drink and also to use the toilet.
Only after she had left the property did the victim discover her purse containing cash, bank cards and jewellery was missing, and shortly afterwards, money was withdrawn from her bank.
Police have stressed the importance of not letting strangers, however plausible, into people's homes. They have urged relatives of elderly and vulnerable people to ensure they take particular care over their security.
Anyone who may have information about either crime or who may have been approached in a similar way is asked to contact Sussex Police online or by phoning 101, quoting serial 949 of 08/04/18.
Alternatively they can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Help us keep Sussex safe
Seen something suspicious or have information about a crime or incident? Please contact us online, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101.
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Stay in the know with social media