DETECTIVES are investigating after a 100-year-old woman was left frightened after she was targeted by a burglar who conned his way into her home in west Belfast.
The thief was rumbled when Madge Morgan’s home help arrived at her house off the Falls Road on Monday and he left empty-handed.
The man claimed to be from Northern Ireland water and Madge believed he was there to help her.
Police believe the same man had called at a number of homes in the area using the same con trick.
When he was challenged by Mrs Morgan’s home help, he made off on foot with two other men, all said to be in their late teens, in the direction of the Falls Road.
Police have distributed warning leaflets to houses in the area highlighting the dangers of bogus callers.
The pensioner, who celebrated her 100th birthday three months ago, explained why she had thought he was a legitimate caller.
“He said ‘you have a leak and I’m checking all the different houses, I’ve just been with Mrs Rowntree’,” she said.
“When he mentioned that, I thought that was genuine enough.
“I think they’re sick and unhappy, they’re sick people, they’re not normal.”
Her neighbour, Harry Morrison, said he was appalled to hear pensioners were being targeted.
“They’re scum of the earth,” he said.
“They’re no good, that’s what they live on, old people living on their own, hoping to get something off them.
“They think they’ve got money, but they haven’t. They’re just elderly people on their own.”
Police said householders should not let strangers into their homes and inform them of any incidents of this nature.
“Bogus callers depend on the good nature and goodwill of others,” a police statement said.
“They tend to target the more vulnerable members of our society and in particular, older members of our community.
“It is always advisable to be cautious of unexpected callers.
“It is worth remembering that bogus callers will use all sorts of tactics to gain access to a victim’s home.
“Everyone should follow this advice when dealing with unexpected visitors.”