A CONMAN disguised as a scaffolder is targeting elderly victims.

The man distracted the victims then stole cash, cards and purses in a series of thefts in Brighton and Hove.

He struck first at two flats in The Drive, Hove, on Friday, April 12.

He told the homeowners he was working for a scaffolding company in their block of flats, showing them an ID card that police believe is fake.

He told one resident he needed to move scaffolding to the rear of her flat but she would need to move items on her balcony.

She stayed with him as he looked at the balcony and he left empty handed.

But at the second flat at about 1.30pm he told a 93-year-old woman he needed to use the toilet.

But when he was left alone he stole her purse containing cash and cards from her bedroom.

The man then called at a flat in Freshfield Street, Brighton, on Wednesday at about 3.15pm and told the woman living there that he was putting scaffolding up next door and needed access to her garden.

She took him through to the garden and he told her his workmate was at her front door but there was no one there.

She later realised her purse had been stolen from her handbag containing a large amount of cash.

The suspect is white, 6ft tall and in his late 50s, with grey and black peppered hair.

He is clean shaven with blackened teeth and a “weathered complexion”.

He was wearing a black overcoat and cottons fingerless gloves.

Detective Inspector Cath O’Connor said: “We are linking these reports of distractions burglaries as each time the suspect has posed as a scaffolder.

“He is preying on elderly victims, one of whom was 93. We are asking anyone who recognises the description of this man or has any information about these incidents to contact us.

“We would urge residents to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious to us.

“It’s also important to remember to challenge any unknown callers for ID.

“You can check this by calling the service provider they claim to be from. Keep your properties secure by locking them or putting your front door on a chain, and if in doubt, don’t let them in.”

Police are urging anyone with information on this man to report it online or ring 101 quoting Operation Inroad.