A BOGUS charity collector with a “bunny girl” tattoo on the side of her neck is being hunted by police after preying on vulnerable residents.
She has been going door-to-door in the East Lothian village of Inveresk asking for cash for a sponsored swim which pool staff know nothing about.
And big-hearted residents have already handed over up to £20 each in the belief that their money was going to Cancer Research.
Resident Brenda Clark, a former neighbourhood watch coordinator, raised the alarm when the fraudster came to her door earlier this week.
She added: “People ask for sponsorship money for friends and family and colleagues, not from people they don’t know. She was a complete stranger.
“She was also collecting money for a sponsored swim before she had completed it. All of that immediately set the alarm bells ringing. I put my name on her sponsor form and told her I was an old-fashioned person who wanted her to do the event before I paid her.”
Mrs Clark then contacted the pool, only to discover there was no sponsored swim.
She then warned her neighbours, including the current neighbourhood watch coordinator, but not before some residents had handed over cash.
Several days later the brazen fraudster returned to ask for money amid claims she had completed the swim but soon “beat a hasty retreat” when Mrs Clark confronted her about the scam.
The woman is white, between 35 and 45 with shoulder-length black dyed hair with a centre parting.
She is between 5ft 4in and 5ft 9in tall with a slim to medium build and local accent. She had a bunny girl tattoo on the right side of her neck, a star tattoo on the outside of her left wrist and two rows of writing on the inside of her left forearm.
PC Donald Kettrick added: “She appears to be going around the addresses where there are older people who are in through the day and ripping them off.
“A few of them have been taken in by her, handing over £10 and £20. We know of at least half a dozen who have given over money but there are potentially a lot more who may have been duped. This could be the tip of the iceberg and inquiries are ongoing.”
Police in Musselburgh are warning residents following several incidents involving a fake charity collector on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A number of householders have already fallen victim as it has been established this is a fraudulent scheme.
Anyone who recognises the description or has any information should contact Police Scotland on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.