A BOGUS Northern Powergrid engineer tricked an elderly Barnsley man into handing over cash. 

This was on October 21, but it's just the most recent example in an increasing number of pensioners who are being targeted by burglars posing as legitimate workmen.

Residents, especially the elderly and vulnerable, are being warned by police to take care when answering the door and allowing strangers into their properties.

The bogus engineer who targeted the Birdwell pensioner on Monday simply said he needed to carry out some work. He then tricked the man into paying.

Northern Powergrid are currently carrying out work in the Birdwell area, but the company's head of network repairs, Mick Hickling, has urged residents to check ID.

"This was a callous crime against an innocent couple whose only mistake was to be too trusting to someone who they thought was a legitimate engineer," Mick said.

"All our staff and contractors are required to show proper identification when they require access to people's land or property and they only travel in marked vehicles.

"We will never ask our customers for cash payment for any work we do. Customers should not be embarrassed to ask to see an ID badge again and check it properly."

Distraction burglaries have also occurred during the last week in Royston. In that case, a white man wearing a yellow reflective workman-style top said he needed to make repairs to gas and water pipes.

DCI David Stopford said: “In all of these cases, the victims were elderly, and appear to have been selected on that basis.

"People need to be very wary when opening the door to strangers, even if they claim to be from the council, a utility company or any other business.

"Genuine callers won’t mind being asked for identification, and won’t mind being asked to wait while you check that identification thoroughly.

"The sad fact is that these bogus officials prey on the elderly and vulnerable, but they can’t steal anything unless they're let in."

Anyone with information on distraction burglaries, or other crimes, should call South Yorkshire Police’s non-emergency number on 101.