An elderly woman has told of a terrifying raid at the hands of thieves who bundled her into her home – while claiming to be council workers.
Widow Mary Anne Vernon, 83, was forced into her house by two men who then told her they had been sent to clean her drains and repair her porch.
The pair made no attempt to disguise their true intentions as one stood watch over her while the other searched the house.
They escaped with hundreds of pounds in cash and a watch left by Mrs Vernon’s late husband, George.
The thieves have been branded “despicable” by police.
Mrs Vernon said: “It was very frightening. I was really shaken up. I suffer from asthma and I thought I was going to have an attack.
“I didn’t know where I was, I couldn’t think straight. It was awful.”
Her son, also called George, added: “I’m seething, it really makes me angry. How could anyone do this to an elderly woman?”
Mrs Vernon had been out in her garden at her home in north Leeds and was returning to her back door when a man in his twenties rushed towards her.
She said: “He shoved me in and ran up the stairs and as he went up another man with an Irish accent came in behind him and said that they had come round to clean the drains.
“He was about 6ft tall and very intimidating. I was sitting on the sofa and he kept his eyes on me while the other searched upstairs.
“He emptied some of my clothes out of a bag and put some money in it –I’d been saving to go and see my sister in Scotland. He must have thrown the bag out of the toilet.
“As they left they said they’d contact me later about the porch.”
Both men were white. The older one was thought to be in his sixties. The incident happened on May 15.
PC Philip Dodsworth, of the Neighbourhood Crime Team, said: “Criminals who target the elderly and vulnerable in this way are utterly despicable and I would ask anyone who has any information that could assist us in tracing them to contact the police.
“We urge people to remain vigilant and to contact the police immediately if they see anyone acting suspiciously in their street or calling at homes. We ask that people keep an eye out for their elderly neighbours.”
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.