BOGUS officials have targeted elderly residents in a spate of ‘abhorrent’ burglaries across East Lancashire.

Incidents in Darwen, Black- burn, Whalley, Accrington and Burnley have involved men claiming they needed to check the water supply knocking on doors and taking cash.

On January 8, a 92-year-old man in St Silas Road, Blackburn, had two men come into his home and ask for change of a £20 note.

It was unclear what was stolen but it is thought the incident is connected to other thefts.

In Accrington on January 15, a 77-year-old woman was targeted by two men and had £800 stolen.

One was tall, slim with short dark curly hair, had an Irish accent and wore jeans, shiny black shoes and a tight-fitted black anorak.

On January 21, two men went to an address in Pilmuir Road, Blackburn, and a partially-sighted 89-year-old woman had £6 taken from her purse.

The thieves were white, one about 25, the other about 40, and both wore black woolly hats.

Later that day in Darwen, a 94-year-old woman was told that the council owed her £10, but the thief needed change for a £20 note. She gave them £10, but they left with the money as well as the £20 note. This man was white and wore dark clothing.

On the same day, two men went to an address at Riddings Lane, Whalley, and stole cash and jewellery from the 84-year-old female occupant.

On January 23, £80 was taken when an 87-year-old woman in Brunshaw Road, Burnley, opened her door to suspected burglars.

And on January 30, two men went to an address on Avallon Way, Darwen, where cash and jewellery was stolen from an 82-year-old woman.

One of the thieves was white, aged 25 to 30, with short dark hair with curls at the back and he was smartly dressed Sgt Tim McDermott said: “These offences are absolutely abhorrent.

The victims are all elderly and all have been affected by what has happened to them. Some are deeply distressed.

“Although the descriptions of the offenders vary, we are confident that the crimes are linked.

“I would ask that anyone who knows anything about these incidents to contact the police immediately.”

Call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with any information.