THOUSANDS of pounds were stolen from an elderly lady after a crook disguised himself as a police officer.

The victim, from Billericay, said the bogus officer showed a fake ID card in order to get into the home, before using distraction techniques in a bid to steal the cash from the woman’s safe.

The crook got away with thousands of pounds in cash.

Essex Police have launched an appeal to track the man down.

A force spokesman said: “We were called at around 5.30pm on Monday with reports of a burglary off Western Road, Billericay.

“A woman reported that a man knocked at her home claiming to be a police officer and entered her property before leaving with a four-figure sum of cash.

“He has been described as being around 6ft, of a large build, in his 40s, and had dark hair.

“He wore a dark jacket and drove a white van.”

A neighbour of the victim posted on social media: “It was horrible seeing her so upset and feeling foolish for being taken in.

“He appears to be preying on elderly people and asked if she lived alone and also if anyone was expected to visit.”

Mr Andrew Schrader, councillor for Billericay East, told the Echo: “It’s very worrying.

“Police are in a position of trust and lulling residents into a false sense of security is terrible.

“I presume that they are piggybacking off the new town centre teams. I hope that the police investigate it fully and I hope that they’re caught.”

He added: “If anyone is in any doubt then decline to let them in.”

Essex Police also issued advice to residents wary of people knocking at their door.

A spokesman added: “Don’t be frightened to ask for identification and always check it carefully. If you’re not sure, ask them to come back another day.

“Think about installing a door chain and use it. Keep the door on the chain until you’ve seen identification, and if you need your glasses to read the identification, close the door before going to find them.

“Don’t leave the door open and unattended and remember to lock the back door before opening the front.

“Don’t be pressured into letting someone into your home if you have suspicions and don’t keep large amounts of cash in the house.”

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