A fraudster posing as a police officer stole a 90-year-old woman’s handbag after tricking her into inviting him into her home.

The Biddestone pensioner realised her bag was missing after the man called at her door saying he was warning of burglaries in the area.

Inside the bag were her house keys as well as £60 cash, all her bank cards and pin numbers.

The distraction burglary happened onTuesday last week in The Tynings.

Since then the same man is believed to have attempted the same dirty trick twice more, again preying on vulnerable people in rural areas west of Chippenham.

The latest attempts were both on Saturday in Lower North Wraxall near Castle Combe and, above the M4 in Badminton.

The trickster did not manage to get inside on these occasions.

An 88-year-old woman in North Wraxall said the man called round at 7pm wearing a suit and a high visibility waistcoat with police written across the back. He did not state his name or have an identity card and she did not let him in.

In Biddestone, a man showed up in a dark coloured suit and brandished a police ID card, suspected to be fake, before spending 15 minutes inside her house.

Lil Duncan, PCSO for the Chippenham Rural area, described the offence as disgusting and warned people not to let strangers into their homes.

She said: “We believe he is targeting elderly and vulnerable people. We’re really concerned he’s going to do it again.

“We would ask people to be mindful; if anyone comes to your house you don’t know, don’t let them in.

“Real police would have photo ID but it is possible to fake ID, so if people are unsure and are not expecting a police visit, always call 101 to verify it is a genuine call. No officer would be offended or annoyed by that.”

The suspect was described as white, in his 30s, average build, 5ft 11ins to 6ft tall and with short brown hair.

Police are appealing for anyone who saw a man fitting this description in Biddestone between 11am and 3pm on Tuesday February 18, or in North Wraxall on the evening of Saturday February 22, to call 101. Officers would also like to hear from anyone who saw any vehicle that was not usual to the area.