Police are urging residents to be vigilant following a series of distraction burglaries across Derbyshire.
Officers are investigating whether the crimes, which all took place on Friday, February 9, are linked.
The victims are aged between 73 and 95 and the crimes took place in Amber Valley, Erewash, Derby and south Derbyshire.
In each case, the burglar or burglars pretended to be from the ‘water board’ and asked to check the victim’s supply.
The first crime happened at around noon that day, when two men visited the house of an 89-year-old woman in Mackworth. One man went upstairs while the other kept the victim distracted. Nothing was stolen.
At around 1pm, a man went to the house of a 73-year-old woman in Etwall. He kept her distracted while a second thief sneaked in and stole cash.
An 84-year-old Codnor man was visited by three men sometime between 3.40pm and 4.40pm, although nothing was stolen.
At 5pm, two men went to the home of an elderly couple Ilkeston. The 79-year-old woman became suspicious and challenged them. They ran off empty-handed.
Half an hour later, a man visited the home of a 95-year-old woman in Ilkeston. She was immediately suspicious and refused to let him in.
At around the same time, an 86-year-old Ockbrook man was approached by man asking to check the water supply but the homeowner didn’t let him in.
PC Daniel Goodman from Operation Vigilance, a specialist team which investigates burglaries and robberies, said: “We’re asking people to be on their guard and report anyone suspicious to us. Genuine utility company workers will all have identification cards and will be happy to wait outside while you call their employers to make sure they are who they claim to be.
“If you have elderly relatives, talk to them about home security and consider fitting a door chain for them to keep unwanted callers out.
“If you or someone you know have been targeted by distraction burglars recently, please report it to us. We are investigating whether these crimes and linked and I would ask anyone with information to call me."
Witnesses or anyone with information should call PC Goodman on 101.
Alternatively, send him a message online by visiting the 'Contact Us' section of the police website at: www.derbyshire.police.uk/Contact-Us.
You can also call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.