THE conman who stole from a pensioner who later collapsed and died may have struck again, police revealed last night.

Detectives investigating last Wednesday's theft of £200 from 82-year-old George Sharpe's home, in Haswell, County Durham, believe the thief may have tried to con another pensioner in a neighbouring village.

Mr Sharpe, a frail widower, died three hours after a man claiming to be carrying out draught proofing for the local council stole the money from a drawer.

After Mr Sharpe's relatives made an appeal for help in catching the thief, police were told of a similar incident at nearby Shotton Colliery.

A man similar to the description of the thief called at a 78-year-old man's bungalow in Tudor Court half an hour after the theft from Mr Sharpe.

He told the pensioner he was from the water company, but the pensioner was suspicious and the man left empty-handed.

Police are setting up a mobile police station in Shotton Colliery for their inquiries.

Detective Inspector Sue Knaggs said: "The information came in to us as a direct result of the family's appeal.

"The description of the man involved is so very similar. We have high hopes that he will have been seen in the village last Wednesday night.

"It is also possible other individuals were targeted in the area and did not report the incident to police.

"We would urge them to come forward as a matter of urgency."

The conman is said to be in his 30s, 5ft 5in, well built, clean shaven, of fair complexion and with a square face.

He was wearing a dark donkey jacket, tweed flat cap and dark woollen gloves.

Anyone with information is urged to call at the mobile police station or ring Peterlee CID on 0191-586 2621, or Crimestoppers on (0800) 555111.