A CALLOUS thief tricked his way into an old woman’s home by pretending he needed to use the phone because his child had meningitis.
Fragile Margo Stainsby was resting when she heard a “hard” knock at her door in Edinburgh’s Muirhouse. When she opened the door she was faced with a “very distressed” man who said he needed to make a call about his very sick child.
But the sneaky “weasel-faced” burglar called a mobile number and faked a conversation before robbing her of a mobile phone and a bottle of perfume.
The 77-year-old, who has been seriously ill for weeks, said she was horrified she had been duped at a time when she was at her most vulnerable.
Police are now trying to trace the pay-as-you-go number called by the trickster, who told the woman he lived in the area.
It is understood he had tried the same scam on other houses in the area, but attempts to trace him have so far failed, and the phone he called from Margo’s house has been switched off.
Margo, who has lived in Muirhouse for 50 years, said: “Nothing like this has ever happened before. I have been really ill and I wasn’t thinking straight. I feel so violated.
“This guy was distressed and he was keen to use the phone. He spoke to somebody and he said he was very worried. He said ‘Oh no, please not meningitis? What hospital is she in? St John’s? Why isn’t she in the Sick Kids?’.
“I felt horrified because he was saying his child was so sick. After that he asked if he could go to the loo. I said yes, then he came back and thanked me.
“It was only later that I found he’d nicked my mobile and my bottle of Chanel No 5. He’d gone through the rooms.”
She added: “I was tired and dehydrated. The doctor said I should be in hospital, but I wanted to try pills first. I was tired and he took advantage.”
Margo said the thief also asked her if she wanted him to buy her groceries due to her illness – and believes he was trying to steal her purse.
She said: “I thought he was being kind, but he was only trying to get his hands on my purse. I only lost my husband a few months ago, I’ve been ill, and now this.
“My son is looking after me now. Even my Yorkie, Mollie, knew he was a bad one. She wouldn’t stop barking.”
She described the culprit as around 30, small, with dark hair and a “weasel-like” face.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “We are currently investigating the theft of a mobile phone from the house of an elderly resident in the Muirhouse area on Tuesday.”
Additional officers will also be patrolling Muirhouse this evening following the incident, and anyone with information should contact Drylaw police via 101.