A GANG of thieves carried out a spate of burglaries targeted at elderly people across the Black Country.

West Midlands Police are investigating at least five burglaries believed to have been carried out by three men, aged in their 30s and 40s.

In the most recent string of burglaries, the men forced their way into homes in Dudley and Amblecote on the hunt for cash and jewellery on Saturday, October 12.

An 89-year-old man, who is registered deaf, was threatened with a brick and barged over in the hallway of his home in Amblecote by the men before they fled empty handed.

Later that night offenders broke into an 89-year-old woman's house in Dudley before stealing her purse.

An 84-year-old man was also targeted later that night in Bilston where he was sprayed in the face with a substance after men kicked open the door to his home. He was not seriously hurt.

Similar incidents had been reported in Walsall last week.

Police are now appealing for information and have urged residents to be cautious when receiving unsolicited visitors.

West Midlands Police Detective Sergeant Leighton Shingles, said: "We’re certainly looking at a series of linked break-ins. In some cases doors have been forced open with metal bars and on other occasions victims have been rushed having answered a knock at the door.

“But what connects all these incidents is that it appears elderly residents are being deliberately targeted…that’s what makes it particularly distasteful. One elderly female victim was taken to hospital after suffering a suspected heart attack due to the shock of what happened.

“We’re following up various lines of enquiry, including CCTV that’s been seized from offence locations.

“If anyone believes they know who’s involved I’d urge them to contact us. We’re looking at three callous crooks who think nothing of intimidating and attacking elderly people, including pensioners who are approaching 90-years-old.

“They don’t deserve protection – so if anyone has information then please get in touch so we can get justice for these victims.

“We’d also urge residents not to open the door to people who arrive unannounced on their doorstep and to call the police if they see anything suspicious.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 101 or Live Chat via WMP Online.