Police are appealing for witnesses after two fake police officers stole jewellery and cash from an 86-year-old woman.

The elderly woman was home alone at Harley Court, Blake Hall Road, Wanstead at around 7.45pm on February 28, when two plain clothed men claiming they were police stole two rings and £50 in cash.

The two suspects are described by police as white, one around 20-25 with fair cropped hair with a long dark blue jacket, and the other around 25-30 with short black hair.

They told the victim that they had caught a young man coming out of the window to her flat, and she allowed them inside where they stole the jewellery from her cupboard and cash from her purse.

Residents from the area have spoken about their unease about the incident and express their sympathy for the elderly victim.

Dawn Franks, 60, of Blake Hall Road said: “I keep hearing about incidents in this area where people are coming to the door pretending to be someone else – particularly salesmen.

“It’s unnerving to think they are that convincing. When they’re pretending to be police it’s ten times worse. They instantly win your trust. I feel sorry for the lady who trusted them and was taken advantage of – it’s disgusting.”

Geoff Bell, 53, also of Overton Drive, said: “I haven’t heard about this incident but it’s shocking – it could happen to anyone. People need to be made more aware that this is happening.

“This lady obviously didn’t think it was suspicious at all.”

Police are appealing for witnesses who should call 101 or CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111.