Three men pretended to be plumbers in order to steal valuable jewellery from an elderly lady in Petworth on Thursday, according to police.
Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident at around 2.15pm on November 2 at a property in High Street, Duncton.
Among the items stolen was an engraved wedding band that had belonged to the home owner’s deceased husband.
A police spokesman said the men claimed they needed to check water pipes but once inside the property one of the men distracted the home owner while the other two stole pieces of valuable jewellery from both of the bedrooms.
Three gold coloured wedding bands, one with a distinctive engraving, three watches and a pair of drop earrings with three different coloured stones in them were stolen from the property, the spokesman said.
Police have released images of the wedding bands and described the watches as all gold in colour. One watch has a link strap with white stones on it, the second has an oval shaped face with a black leather strap and the third is a plain gold.
Investigator Kelly Ackerman said: “This is a despicable crime in which three men have targeted an elderly vulnerable lady who put her trust in them and believing they were legitimate workmen.
“While distracted, two of the suspects made an untidy search and stole valuable and extremely sentimental items belonging to the family. In particular was the victim’s deceased husband’s wedding band with the words MAY 26 1973 engraved on the inside.
“We would like to hear from anyone with any information about the stolen property or anyone who noticed any suspicious behaviour in the area at the time of the incident.
“Has anyone tried to sell you any of the items above?
“We would also like to hear from anyone who may have recently experienced unannounced visits in or around the surrounding area.
“Our advice to anyone finding a stranger at their door is not to let them in, no matter what they say, unless they can provide proof of their identity.
“If at all concerned, call police immediately by dialing 999.”
Anyone who witnessed this burglary or anyone with information can report it online or by calling 101 quoting serial 756 of 2/11. Alternatively, call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.