POLICE are warning members of the public to be alert after a number of elderly people were targeted by distraction burglaries.

The warning comes after reports of at least five similar offences in the Bournemouth and East Dorset area over the Easter weekend. Detective Sergeant Andy Bell, of Bournemouth CID, said: “In each case, the offender has gained access to the victim’s property by pretending to inspect fences on behalf of the council or offereing to repair damage to the premises.

“Taking advantage of the victim’s trust, the trickster has then stolen money from handbags and purses.”

The offender has been described as a white man, aged in his early 20s, of slim build and around 5ft 10in tall.

No arrests have been made.

Members of the public are advised to make sure their back doors are locked when answering the door and to put the chain on before opening the door and ask for the caller’s identification.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Dorset Police on 101.