An intruder posed as a member of the Neighbourhood Watch while burgling a man's sheltered accommodation home in Luton in the early hours of Monday.
At around 12.30am, the victim woke up to find a woman inside his property in Sir Herbert Janes Village, Luton.
The offender claimed to be from the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme and pretended to carry out a check in relation to recent suspicious activity in the area. She looked around, asking the victim if there was any money in the property, before asking the victim to let her out of the back door and making off in an unknown direction.
The victim then noticed that money was missing, including a jar with a large number of 20 pence coins.
The offender was described as a black female and was believed to be wearing a large black coat with a hood up.
Detective Constable Jason Wheeler, from the force's Operation Maze team, investigating, said: “This is a terrible incident where the offender impersonated a person of trust and reassured the victim, before stealing from him.
"We do not tolerate this type of behaviour in Bedfordshire and would encourage anyone with information to come forward and report it to us.
“We’d also like to remind people that members of the Luton Neighbourhood Watch Scheme would never enter a property without permission and would make a pre-arranged appointment to visit. Also NWS members would carry ID badges when making themselves known to others.”
Further advice from the force includes:
> Keep all valuables and keys safely out of sight from windows, both in your home and car.
> If you have an unexpected knock on the door never open it to strangers, consider installing a door chain and always keep it on,
> If unsure of the visitor’s identity always ask for their ID first and telephone the company they are purporting to be from, and use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider.
> If you feel the caller is suspicious, do not hesitate to contact us by calling us on 101 for non-emergencies or call 999 if you suspect a crime is happening. Take note of any vehicle registration numbers and a description of the suspected offenders.
> Property mark and register your property at www.immobilise.com.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Bedfordshire Police by calling 101, or through the online reporting centre, quoting CAD 15 of yesterday’s date.