Burglars raided a home after persuading a resident there had been an explosion nearby and they needed to check the property, say police.
The crooks claimed to be from the water board before stealing items during the distraction burglary at Millfield Close in Farndon.
Police are now warning residents to be on their guard following the incident at around 8pm on Wednesday (October 22).
Two men are said to have called at the address, claiming they needed to perform checks following an explosion, while a third man remained outside in a silver or grey coloured hatchback Audi.
One of the men distracted the homeowner in the kitchen, while the second man went upstairs and stole items, say police.
PC Adam Norton, of Western Rural Neighbourhood Policing Unit, warned residents that the ‘water board’ hoax is a common method used by criminals to gain access to people’s homes.
He said: “These criminals often target the most vulnerable members of our communities, abusing their trust in order to steal from them.
“The clearest indicator that something is not quite right, in these circumstances, is that the ‘water board’ does not exist.
“Legitimate companies and contractors will always be happy to produce ID. In relation to issues with water supply, United Utilities can be contacted on 0845 746 2200 and will be happy to verify the identity of any of their representatives.
“If in doubt, residents should contact police. We would urge the Chronicle’s readers to consider whether they have friends, family or neighbours who may be vulnerable to this type of crime and, if so, to consider speaking to them to make sure they are aware of the issue.”
In August a con man tried to swindle a pensioner out of £10,000 to fix drains after claiming to have traced a drainage problem to his property.