Willesden pensioner’s home raided by man posing as a neighbour in need

Peter and Carol Reynolds, who had their house broken in to. With Tony Antonio on a nearby Willesden

Peter and Carol Reynolds, who had their house broken in to. With Tony Antonio on a nearby Willesden residential street (not theirs). (Picture: Jonathan Goldberg) - Credit: Archant

A pensioner has told of her fear when she realised a man posing as a neighbour in distress was rifling through her bedroom.

Carol Reynolds, 70, said she was alone at her home in Villiers Road on Wednesday night when she answered the door at 9.45pm to a man claiming the property next door was flooded and he needed access to her kitchen to switch off the water mains.

Mrs Reynolds, who was on the phone to her husband Peter at the time, unwittingly let the man in, thinking his Irish accent connected him to the next door neighbours she has known for 25 years.

She said: “He said next door was flooded and he needed to turn the water off and did I know where he could do it.

“I’d left the front door open when he came in. But when I turned round it was closed and I noticed the upstairs light had been switched on. I suddenly became aware there were two of them in the house.

“I was pretty badly shaken up and was shouting and screaming at the poor police officer on the other end of the phone until the police arrived. I think they [the thieves] must have got scared because the first man followed me outside and got into his car and the other came running down the stairs.”

She tried to block the second younger man at her garden gate but he jumped over her wall and darted into his accomplice’s vehicle before they drove off.

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She said nothing was stolen as the younger man threw her bag into her hallway as he fled.

She added: “They left everything. There was my jewellery all over the bed. I keep it in different places so unless he knew what he was looking at he wouldn’t know the difference between a piece of glass and a diamond. I feel so stupid. It was all my fault.”

Tony Antonio MBE, chairman of the safer neighbourhood ward panel team, said: “It’s totally outrageous and cowardly to target elderly and vulnerable people. Residents need to be aware. Don’t let anybody in. Check their ID badges, have emergency numbers for gas, water and electricity close at hand so you can call utility companies and check.”

A spokesman for the police said: “We are investigating a burglary which occurred on November 30 at 9.40pm. A man entered the house claiming he needed to deal with a water problem.

“The victim became aware of a second person in the house. Both made off in a car. There have been no arrests. Enquiries continue.”