POLICE are appealing for information after cold-calling crooks stole money from an elderly resident in a distraction-style burglary.

It was said to have taken place at her home, in Grange Street, Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, at about 1.20pm on Monday.

The 86-year-old victim, who is in poor health, had an unexpected visit from a man who said he would carry out roofing repairs.

She invited him into the property, where he then stole money from her purse.

A witness saw two men outside the house in an old white Transit-type van, believed to be a mk3 model, at 9.10am and, later, at 1.16pm.

The first man is described as white, about 5ft 5in, of stocky build with a bald head.

He was wearing a dark red polo top with red cargo pants or a set of overalls tied around his waist.

The second male is described as white of slim build, with a thin face and dark, short hair.

He was wearing a dark polo shirt and dark cargo pants.

Detective Inspector Tonya Cook, from Stanley CID, said: “This is a crime where two people have preyed on the vulnerability of a lovely lady in her home and distracted her attention and stole her money.

“I would ask for anyone with information about this crime to contact the police on 101 or to report this anonymously to crime stoppers.

“We are supporting the victim, but I want to identify these men to stop them targeting others and ensure they are brought to justice for what they have done.”

Anyone with information is asked to ring on the 101 police non-emergency line, quoting incident reference number 257, of June 10, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously if so wished, on (0800) 555111.