BOGUS police officers duped an elderly couple in Yvelines out of more than €800,000 in gold and cash.
The two criminals were not in uniform, but the pensioners were fooled by what appeared to be official-looking cards, and allowed the thieves to search their house from cellar to attic.
The criminals found four gold bars in a locked cabinet in the basement.
A similar theft took place a week ago in Val d’Oise, when an octogenarian in Saint-Leu-la-Forêt was duped by two men carrying fake police identity cards and handcuffs, who walked away with €10,000 in jewellery.
Investigating officers have not said whether the two cases are linked.
The two incidents have prompted officials to warn vulnerable members of the public to be on their guard when someone calls at their house.
They advised homeowners who were suspicious of ‘police officers’ knocking at their door to check their cards, which - like the cards of gas and water company employees - should have the reason for their visit clearly stamped on it.
Homeowners are also entitled to telephone the police station to ensure the people at their door are who they claim to be. It is also possible to arrange a later appointment, even if an genuine officer visits in the case of an emergency.
They also urged vulnerable people to stay in regular contact with their neighbours, and to have a list of important numbers to hand in case a suspicious person calls.