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Elderly residents have been the victims of a spate of distraction burglaries.

Sussex Police is appealing for more information about several crimes in Brighton and Hove and Crowborough and officers are urging people to be extra aware.

In Freshfield Road, Brighton, an elderly couple in their 80s allowed a man into their home only to discover later on he had stolen a wallet before riding off on a bright red bike.

The incident happened at about 6.50pm on May 21 and the suspect is described as being in his mid-20s, 6ft, slim, clean shaven, wearing blue trousers and a sweat shirt and carrying a small black bag.

At 6.30pm on the same day a 77- year-old man allowed three men into his house in Blackness Road, Crowborough, to clean windows. He later found four blank cheques had been stolen.

The men were believed to be using a grey Mitsubishi L200 pick-up in which they had a jet wash hose.

On May 22 a man called at an elderly woman’s flat in Westbourne Street, Hove, at about 5.30pm, claiming to be from the Community Health Service and needing to check her pulse.

Once inside, he asked for a cup of tea and when she returned she found the man bent over near her handbag.

She then discovered her purse was missing.

The suspect was white, in his 20s, 5ft 10in, thin, with short hair and wearing jeans and a navy blue jacket.

Officers think the incidents in Brighton and Hove may be linked.

Police are also investigating an incident in Rottingdean on May 20, at 8pm, when a woman wearing a blue uniform knocked on the door of a 78-year-old woman claiming to be a carer.

All these incidents involved the use of plausible excuses to gain entry to the homes of vulnerable elderly people.

Inspector Jon Greetham said: “It is important to remain vigilant at all times, and to never allow cold callers or strangers into your home, however convincing they may sound.”

Police advice to householders is to keep the security chain on when answering the door and to not let in someone that you are not expecting.

Anyone with information about any of these incidents should call police on 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk.