DUDLEY's top cop has made an impassioned plea to find the thugs responsible for 29 ‘despicable’ burglaries targeting pensioners across the Black County.

Chief Superintendent Sally Bourner has urged people to stay vigilant and to keep an eye on elderly loved ones and neighbours following a string of terrifying raids on homes since the beginning of October.

Finding those responsible is now the highest policing priority in the Black Country, she said.

A further six incidents were reported overnight on October 16, following burglaries last weekend where a deaf 89-year-old man was threatened with a brick in Amblecote and an 89-year-old woman was robbed of her purse at her home in Dudley.

Between four and five white men are believed to be behind the burglaries, although police cannot confirm if it is one gang.

Jewellery and cash has mainly been stolen in the burglaries, which have tended to take place between 6pm and 9pm, with thieves often gaining entry to homes by pretending to be police officers or workers from utility boards.

Calling for people to remain vigilant, Ch Supt Bourner warned residents not to open the door to unsolicited visitors.

A small number of incidents has seen burglars break into homes with brute force and incidents have been reported in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Police have now released CCTV footage of an attempted burglary at a home in Coseley on October 16 in a bid to trace the offenders.

Ch Supt Bourner admitted it has been difficult to provide a description of the offenders as they cover their faces before targeting their victims.

Appealing for residents to come forward, she said: “Be extra vigilant and alert. If you see anything suspicious, please, please contact us.

“Your eyes and ears could be the final piece of the jigsaw to make sure we get the offenders into custody.”

She added: "Any crime is awful, but crimes targeting older people are absolutely despicable and beyond belief."