A nationwide police hunt is on for an elderly man who has been reported to have been pleasant to people he meets while walking down the street, in shops and at bus stops.

Chief Police Commissioner for Berkshire, Roland Tompkins, appearing on Breakfast TV said: ‘We need the public to vigilant and help us catch this rather well-mannered and perfectly charming man. We can’t have him on the loose just speaking to people as if it was perfectly acceptable to do so without formal introductions having been made. This is Southern England and we simply do not hold with this type of behaviour. It must be nipped in the bud.’

One woman who had a lucky escape, Doreen Sharp, from Burghfield near Reading said: ‘I was in the village bakery buying a bloomer for our breakfast when I heard the bell dinging behind me. As soon as I saw him my suspicions were aroused because he was smiling. And then without warning he just blurted out ‘Alright, my dear? Lovely day isn’t it?’

‘Well I was out of there like a bat out of hell. Now I’m just feeling so lucky to still be alive because he was probably a rapist or a pedophile like as not. There had to be something ‘not right about him’ to behave like that.’

Commissioner Tompkins added: ‘He can’t be from the Home Counties, not with that attitude. We strongly suspect because of his unguarded friendliness that he could perhaps be Liverpudlian, Geordie or even Irish. But wherever he’s from we want to speak to him urgently. If you spot him call us and we’ll do the rest.’