A sickening and bizarre con duped a grandfather into wading for, what he thought was a drowning baby. The scam happened near Portsmouth in Hampshire, UK on Wednesday at 10:30 in the morning. Abandoning his coat to jump into the water the thieves made off with £100 and some tobacco.
The grandfather, John White, 48, was dog-walking with his wife when a couple ran out of bushes claiming a swan had attacked their child pointing to a nearby lake.
Mr White then saw a baby, clothed and with shoes on, floating in the water face down.
Taking off his coat, Mr White jumped into the waist-deep water while his wife and dog waited nearby just out of sight.
However, when Mr White grabbed the baby’s leg he realised it was a doll.
As he tried to get back to the path he was squirted in the face with an unidentified liquid from a plastic bottle, burning his nose and eyes.
The thieves dropped the jacket, then fleeing through the Foxes Forest park area they disappeared.
Mr White, an angina sufferer said: “I feel stupid that I fell for a trick. I thought I was trying to help someone. The incident makes me feel like next time someone asks for help, I should just walk past.
“The thieves are playing dangerous, dangerous games. I think they’re sick. They need to be caught before they go one step further.”
The male is described as slim, aged 20 to 25, around 5ft 7 ins and wearing a beanie hat and a dark zip-up top. The woman was a few years older, around 5ft 2 ins, wearing a sky-blue hoodie, with short brown hair cut in a bob.
Detective Constable Chris Dinenage said: “We are appealing for any witnesses who may have seen the man or woman carrying the dummy child prior to the incident or if they saw the incident taking place.”