DETECTIVES in Southend are searching for a thief who stole cash and a credit card from an elderly woman.

The man tricked his way into the 87-year-old’s home on Blenheim Chase, Leigh, at around 5.30pm on Thursday, March 20.

Investigating officer Dc Andy Copley said the victim did not know the man, who said he was the nephew of her neighbour who had been rushed to hospital with a heart attack.

The man claimed he needed £45 for the taxi fare and she invited him into the house and gave him £50.

He promised to return the money along with a large box of chocolates by 6pm that night, but he did not return.

After the man had left the victim also realised a tin containing £100 and her credit card had disappeared.

Dc Copley added: "I would urge people not to let people into their homes unless they know who they are. Certain people will come up with all sorts of plausible stories to obtain money from kind hearted members of society who think they are trying to help those in need.”

The man is described as a white, in his 30s, with short dark hair; he had distinctive arched eye brows and was wearing a light top with a dark suit over the top, speaking with a local Essex accent.

Anyone with any information about this incident should contact Southend CID on Essex Police 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.