A con is cleaning up across Sussex – using a scam to steal company vacuums.

The thief, who is believed to be in his forties, has been posing as a cleaner and asking firms if he can borrow their Henry vacuums.

But after companies have agreed to help him by handing over their Henry’s, the man has made a clean getaway.

Police have received reports of seven thefts in the last month, all of which are of the recognisable gadgets.

The first reported incident was at the King and Queen pub in Marlborough Place, Brighton, on December 10.

This was followed by thefts at Taxi Link in Albion Street, Southwick, on January 15, the To Be Worn Again shop in Kensington Gardens, Brighton, on December 21 and the Battle of Trafalgar pub in Portslade on December 29.

Ben Elliott, the manager of To Be Worn Again, said: “The man came in the shop to ask if he could borrow our vacuum cleaner.

“He said he was from a cleaning company and was doing work for the pub next door.

“He told us he would be back later that day but never returned.

“It’s very odd that it’s just the Henry’s that are going missing.

“Maybe it’s their irresistible smiles.”

Police warning

The thefts have continued into 2013, with Brighton Electric Recording Company, in Coombe Terrace, and the Bear Inn, in Lewes Road, falling victim next on January 12.

They were followed by Metrobet in Montague Street, Worthing, on January 14.

A man tried the scam at the Kendal Arms in Payne Avenue, Brighton, but staff alerted the police and the man left empty handed.

PC Duncan Slaney, of Sussex Police, said: “We are warning businesses to be wary of people claiming to be from a nearby business and then requesting to borrow a vacuum cleaner.”

Anyone with information should call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

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