A jeweller in Whitton is very concerned about an elderly woman who vanished from his shop after trying to buy a £8,000 Rolex, in what he believes was a scam.

The woman, thought to be in her 80s, went into L Guess in the High Street on Monday, April 16, at about 2pm and told owner Mark Guess that she wanted to buy a watch for her son’s birthday.

Mark said: “Instantly my alarm bells were ringing as I am aware of a scam going around the UK, where elderly people are targeted by scammers pretending to be the police.

“The story goes they are looking for upstanding members of the community to assist them in an investigation by purchasing high value goods, and then turning them over to the police that evening, after which they would be ‘reimbursed’.”

In 2017, the Met Police released figures on the “despicable” scam, which showed Twickenham was one of the worst hit in the country.

The culprits, purporting to be police, ring the victim and say they are investigating a business for some criminal activity.

Mark, who “never thought” he would actually experience this, said: “She didn’t even question the price- it is one of the most expensive watches in the window.

“She was not at all interested in the watch either- she just wanted to buy it.”

“Out of instinct” he began asking the woman questions, told her about the scam and asked straight out if someone was forcing her to buy the watch.

Mark said: “She just started nodding her head.

“She was quite confused and distressed having clearly been told by someone that I was a crook.”

The woman’s phone rang and though she said it wasn’t the fraudsters, she “had to take it”, and left before Mark could help her ring the police.

The concerned owner is fearful for the elderly lady, who could be someone’s “mum or grandma”, as he has no idea who she is.

Mark, who feels “sick to his stomach” about the situation, said: “My biggest fear is that she got back into a car with the crooks who tried to make her buy the watch.”

The woman has white hair, is thought to be in her 80s, and was wearing a bright turquoise coat, with a yellow t-shirt.

Mark is hoping someone might recognise the description and can contact the woman to see if she is ok.

A spokesman for the Met Police said: “We were called just before 2.30pm on April 16. 

“No offence was recorded and we ask people to contact police if they see something suspicious.”

The jeweller has CCTV of the woman, if family members or friends recognise the description.