An elderly woman was allegedly burgled on Boxing Day after a man knocked on her door and asked for a glass of water.
An investigation was launched by Northumbria Police after a report of a burglary at the home of an elderly woman in Disraeli Street on December 26.
The victim reported that a man had knocked on her door asking for a glass of water – but later discovered her purse and a couple of other items were missing.
Christopher Beaney, 40, from Lonsdale Avenue, Bebside, was later arrested and charged with burglary. He initially appeared at Bedlington Magistrates’ Court on December 28 where he pleaded not guilty to the offence and is next due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on January 25.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Jonny Pallace issued general advice about helping to protect vulnerable people being targeted by opportunist thieves.
He said: "Sadly, offenders tend to target more vulnerable people such as the elderly and that could be through means of distraction, befriending the victim or by entering a property through an unlocked door or window.
"If you have vulnerable family members, or live next door to an elderly person who lives alone, then you can help us keep them safe.
"Call us about anyone acting suspiciously around their address and please check in with them to make sure they are okay.”
The public are encouraged to contact police to report any suspicious behaviour in their local community by visiting our website at www.northumbria.police.uk or calling 101.
You can also report suspicious activity anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.