A GANG of “cowardly” thieves posing as council staff and utility workers have robbed four pensioners in a week.
In one case, the bogus workmen stole “high value” jewellery from a 77-year-old woman after duping her into letting them into her Bonnyrigg home.
She allowed the thieves into her property in Lothian Street when they told her they were from Midlothian Council and needed to inspect the plumbing in her kitchen and bathroom.
The victim later discovered that several pieces of jewellery had gone missing.
The incident, which took place at lunchtime on Tuesday, is suspected to be linked with a spate of similar cases across Edinburgh earlier this week.
Elderly people living at properties in Loganlea Terrace, Ivanhoe Crescent and Hutchison Cottages in the city had “various personal belongings” taken from them after three men turned up unannounced. On each occasion, the suspects claimed to either work for the local authority or the water board.
Inspector Andrew Toombs said: “We are extremely keen to trace the suspects. This was an appalling and cowardly crime and I would urge anyone who has seen these men or has any information that can assist with our ongoing inquiries to please contact police as soon as possible.”
Of the Bonnyrigg incident, he said: “These men have exploited an elderly woman’s trust and appear to have stolen a significant quantity of her personal belongings. This sort of behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will take all necessary measures to ensure these men are brought to justice.
“Thankfully, such incidents are rare in Bonnyrigg but I want to take this opportunity to warn others in the area to stay vigilant.”
Two of the suspects are described as being white, 6 foot tall, of slim build with short brown hair, and were wearing dark navy jackets and dark trousers.
The third man had a tanned complexion, is between 5ft 10in and 6ft tall, and he had a foreign accent, slim build and short black hair.
In two separate cases last week, properties in Bonnyrigg and Dalkeith were targeted by bogus callers who offered to pave driveways and to carry out gardening duties. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101.
A spokesman for Midlothian Council said: “If in doubt, do not allow them to enter the property until you have checked that they are who they are claiming to be.”