An elderly woman was targeted in a distraction burglary, after a callous thief told her he was there to check whether she had coronavirus

The woman, who was in her 90s, was conned by the thief who claimed he was visiting her home on Shenfield Road, Brentwood, to take her temperature.

At around 6pm on April 23, the woman allowed the man into her home and as she went into her kitchen the man was reported to have searched through her belongings. 

He then told the woman that two boys had come into the house looking for cash and then tried to persuade her to show him where she kept her money saying it was so he could check it hadn't been stolen. 

The woman quickly realised what the man was trying to do and told him to leave. 

Police have now launched a probe into the burglary and are appealing for information.

The man was described as white, of a skinny build with shortish brown hair and aged in his 40s. 

Investigating Officer, Det Con Edward Gosling said: "We want to remind people to stay vigilant and be aware of criminals who are using concerns about coronavirus to take advantage of and target vulnerable people. 

“They are very convincing and often carry fake identification, going to great lengths to try and gain access into your home.

"Thankfully on this occasion, nothing was stolen and no one was hurt. 

"Our advice is to not let anyone into your home who you don’t know or are not expecting. 

"If you do get an unexpected visitor, explain that you need to check who they are, close the door and make a call to the organisation they say they are working on behalf of. 

"If they are genuine, they will understand your caution and will happily wait while you make that call to check."

If anyone was in the area of Shenfield Road in Brentwood around 6pm on April 23 and witnessed any suspicious behaviour or a man matching the above description, then detectives are keen to hear from you. 

Please call Brentwood CID on 101, quoting reference 42/59095/20. 

Information can also be given completely anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111 or visiting