THIEVES posed as builders and conned three elderly people into handing over money during a series of suspected burglaries.

Essex Police has launched an investigation into the incidents, which all occurred in Braintree across a 24-hour period.

Officers were first contacted at around 1pm on June 14 when a woman living at an address in Hall Road, Panfield, had two men knock on her door and provide a quote for some building work.

The men then followed the woman into the property and around the house before they were given a cheque.

It was only once the two men had left that the woman realised two of her bank cards had been stolen.

The following day, two men knocked on a door in East Street, Braintree, and told a women that they noticed her roof was damaged.

They demanded cash before leaving the scene.

Later that day at around 3pm, they two men knocked on another door in Braintree and told a man that his roof was also damaged.

They were given a three-figure sum of cash before leaving.

When the third incident was reported to police, the victim also revealed his house had been ransacked and burgled three days after he was visited by the two men.

Detectives also believe the two suspects may have tried to break into a property in Cressing Road in recent weeks.

Investigating officer PC Leila Sandford, of Braintree CID, said: “We are investigating five incidents in less than 24 hours involving elderly victims who are all aged in their 80s.

"They targeted these victims due to their age and vulnerability and we urge people to be vigilant. In each incident, they took payment for work they never intended to start.

“We believe the me are using a white van with a ladder on top and possibly a large silver ford transit van with chevrons on the rear doors."

Anyone with information is asked to call Braintree CID on 101 quoting crime references 42/93450/19 (Hall Road) and 42/94125/19 and 2/94132/19 (East Street).

You can also report information online by visiting or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.