POLICE are hunting thieves who posed as a teacher and schoolchild to steal from an elderly woman.

The pair, an older man and a younger male, possibly a child aged between 12 and 14, approached the pensioner's house in Morpeth Close, Ferryhill, County Durham, at 3.15pm on Friday.

They said they were from "the school" and the pensioner had won a tidiest garden competition.

While the younger male kept the woman distracted, the older man searched her house and stole a large amount of cash.

Police in the town warned pensioners last night to be on their guard against unexpected and unknown visitors to their homes.

PC Tony Burn, of Newton Aycliffe police, said: "Elderly people should not let people they do not know into their homes unless they have the relevant identification."

Anyone with information about the theft can contact Newton Aycliffe police on (01325) 314401.