A 96-YEAR-OLD woman was tricked into handing over cash and jewellery after waking up to find a burglar in her home.

The woman had fallen asleep in her chair while watching TV late on Wednesday night.

She awoke to find a box by the living room door and heard someone shuffling about in her bedroom.

The brave woman got up to investigate but a man burst in to the room and said: “I am your neighbour. You have been burgled.

I have called the police.”

He then asked the woman where her money and jewellery was so he could “check if anything had been taken”.

The brazen man even told the woman “you should lock the doors and windows behind me,”

as he left with her belongings.

It was only after he had gone that the elderly victim realised the man was in fact the burglar.

He stole a gold diamond and ruby ring and a gold diamond ring. He also took about £40 from her purse.

The burglary happened in Bedford Road, Laindon, between 12.15am and 12.30am.

The victim’s neighbour, who has known her for about 14 years, said: “She is extremely shaken up by what has happened.

“I just think it’s terrible. She is quite a frail lady.

“When she woke up and found him in the house she thought he was one of our neighbours.

“Then he made out he lived along this road. The police have been round to speak to us all and I am being extra careful about my security.

“I make sure all my doors and windows are locked.

“It’s awful that anyone would do this to an elderly lady.

“If they catch him, he should have his fingers chopped off.”

The suspect was Asian, about 5ft 4ins tall, of medium build and wearing a check shirt.

Police are appealing for anyone with information to call detectives at Basildon on 101.