Hove residents concerned homes 'marked' by suspicious man

One of the bracelets left on the railings outside a property in Hove (Photograph: Ash Mitchell)
One of the bracelets left on the railings outside a property in Hove (Photograph: Ash Mitchell)

Residents in Hove have reported a suspicious man asking to enter people's homes to read their energy meters, but some have noticed a bracelet has been left on the railings outside soon after the visit.

Liam Mitchell of Lansdowne Street said a man knocked on his door yesterday morning (August 1), claiming to work for an energy company.

A hair tie on some railings in Hove (Photograph: Ash Mitchell)

A hair tie on some railings in Hove (Photograph: Ash Mitchell)

After finding a bracelet on the railings outside, Mr Mitchell noticed the same had happened to other residents, and said today there have been similar reports in neighbouring streets such as Brunswick Road, Lansdowne Place and Norfolk Square.

He said: "I was getting ready for work when someone was at the door wanting to check our meter. We had one a few days before through our landlord that was genuine, so I had suspicions about him.

"He didn't look very official, he was wearing Air Max trainers, tracksuit bottoms, a small Nike man bag, he had grey hair, and he was tanned with a London accent.

"He said could he come in and read the meter."

Mr Mitchell refused to let him in and said he didn't know where the meter was.

"He was not very official. As he walked up my stairs he placed a bracelet on my railings. I thought it was peculiar.

"I left for work, but I came back on my break, as I had a feeling what he could be doing."

Mr Mitchell said he noticed bracelets and hair ties on several railings down his road.

"I knocked on a few people's doors and some people said they had let him in," Mr Mitchell said.

"In the evening I put a post up on the Brighton People Facebook page to ask people about it. More people have been saying today that he has been seen around the area.

"What I have heard is it's basically marking for a potential burglary, and leading up to Pride weekend when people are not around that area..."

Mr Mitchell reported the matter to Sussex Police and has encouraged other residents to do the same.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: "Police have received reports of a man acting suspiciously in Hove.

"The man has been reported to be knocking on doors on Monday (July 31) and Tuesday (August 1) and asking to read the gas and electric meters.

"Two reports have been taken for Lansdowne Street and one for Lansdowne Place.

"The man has been described as in his 50s, grey hair and of skinny build. He was wearing a black company polo shirt, black track suit trousers and a small Nike over the shoulder bag.

"If you have any information on this suspicious behaviour please report online quoting reference 0733 of 01/08."