Two men have been arrested in connection with a series of fraud offences which involve tricking elderly people out of cash.
Over the last few weeks, police have received six separate reports of opportunistic criminals looking to prey on vulnerable pensioners for cash late at night.
On each occasion, a man has knocked on the door of elderly residents in the Hylton Castle, Downhill and Town End Farm areas of the city and asked for a small amount of money, after telling a story designed to earn sympathy.
Police have launched an investigation and arrested two men – aged 28 and 29. They have been released under investigation pending further enquiries.
Officers have advised the public to be vigilant, and are keen for anyone who has witnessed anything similar to get in touch.
Acting sergeant Peter Bell, of Northumbria Police, said: “The majority of these recent reports have seen individuals knocking on the door of elderly people late at night and asking for money – and the victims on some occasions have been targeted more than once.
“I would like people living in Hylton Castle, Downhill and Town End Farm to be aware of what has been happening and to remain vigilant. If you have an elderly loved one living in this area, please make them aware of these reports.”
Anyone with information, or who has experienced something similar, is asked to contact police on 101 or speak to a nearby officer.
Acting sergeant Bell added: “Please do not give money to strangers who appear at your door, and keep any unattended properties locked.
“We have put on extra patrols in those areas to reassure the community, but want to hear from anyone who experiences something of this nature.”