We wanted to make you aware of a deeply worrying and unpleasant crime that is currently taking place in and around Richmond in order that you can be more aware and also alert your more vulnerable or elderly neighbours.

Over the weekend there were 3 burglary artifice crimes and one 2 weeks ago that was very similar. Burglary artifice is a particular type of burglary whereby a suspect knocks on a victims door and passes themselves off as a professional - ie. Fixing a water leak, bogus builder and is plausible enough to be let in and they then steal items from the house, often money , jewellery etc, or someone who is in trouble and needs assistance as in this case.

In this particular case it is a female suspect who is knocking on the door presenting as distressed and asking to use the phone as she is buying the house opposite, or claiming to be the neighbours daughter and she needs to borrow money to get home. Once inside the property she then uses the phone and claims there is no answer and asks for a glass of water or is given money by the victim and says she will return it. Once inside she will take easy to carry items like purses etc

The descriptions vary in height and build so it is difficult to say whether they are one and the same or there are several carrying out a scam.

The main thing is the suspect for all these offences is described as female, young-ish between 18- 30 years, clothing varies but on one occasion the suspect was described as wearing horse riding breeches and a tweed green jacket.

Please can I urge you all to be extra vigilant and alert your watch members. The suspect(s) are very plausible. If someone knocks on your door asking to use your phone please do not let them in - most people have mobile phones these days so this is unusual and ring 999 if you are at all suspicious and police will attend and speak with the female.

We are all very trusting by nature and this crime is an invasion of that trust and is often over so quickly the victim may not even notice anything has been taken. As the eyes and ears of the community lets keep each other safe and catch those responsible.

– from Inspector Hannah Wheeler - Richmond NPT, Licensing and ASB Lead