TWO “callous” thieves distracted an elderly man by saying he had bird droppings on his shoulder before pinching £2,500 from his coat pocket.

The criminals had squirted sauce on the 86-year-old as part of a ploy to get to his cash.

Police believe the pair had followed Geoffrey Arthurs home from the Headington bank where he had withdrawn the cash.

Mr Arthurs told the Oxford Mail he only realised the money was missing a few minutes later. And he said he thought the thieves must have done it to other victims.

He said: “I did not feel anything. They were experts.”

Thames Valley Police last week released CCTV images of a man and a woman they want to speak to in connection with the distraction theft ,which happened in December.

Widower Mr Arthurs, who lives in Headington, said he had taken the money out from the London Road branch of Barclays bank to buy Christmas presents.

He said: “Two people were in the bank at the time. They came out the door and followed me all the way home.

“As I got to the door where I live, a lady suddenly said a bird had pooped on my shoulder and said she would clean it off.

“She went to clean it off with a bit of rag and put her hand in my pocket and took the money.”

He added: “I feel angry about it. I suppose in a way it is cruel. It is not very nice at all.”

Mr Arthurs served in the army for 22 years and also worked at the Pressed Steel plant for 20 years, before working at the Central Library in Oxford.

The Oxford Times:

CCTV of two people police want to speak to

And yesterday he warned others about the scam, adding: “Please look out. These things happen.”

Pc Andrew Poole, investigating officer, urged anyone with information to contact him via the 101 number.

He said: “This was a callous crime, where the offenders deliberately targeted an elderly gentleman and stole a large amount of cash from him after tricking their way into his home.

“I am keen to speak to the people pictured in the CCTV and would urge anyone who recognises them to contact me.’’

  • Anyone with information can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or at