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Police warning after spate of distraction burglaries in Nottinghamshire

Detectives are seeking the public’s help and urging residents to remain vigilant after three burglaries which are currently being treated as linked.

Officers are investigating two distraction burglaries and a third burglary at addresses in Sutton-in-Ashfield which happened between noon and around 1.20pm yesterday (Sunday 30 May 2021).

A burglar entered a bungalow in Lammas Close, between 11.50am and noon, and stole the victim’s wallet from his bedroom before leaving.

A short time later, between noon and 12.15pm, a man called at an elderly woman’s home in Church Street. He got inside after telling her he was a council worker and were there to do repairs.

He stole her purse before leaving.

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The man is white, aged in his late 20s to early 30s, about 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build and has light fair hair. He was wearing jeans and a light-coloured jacket.

Around an hour later, at about 1.20pm, a man called an another elderly woman’s home in Carrfield Close, claiming to be from the council. After pushing his way in he told the victim to sit down. He took a gold watch and her purse which contained cash before leaving.

Detective Sergeant Andrew Hall, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We are working hard to find those responsible for these despicable incidents which have caused immense distress to these victims.

“Our enquiries are ongoing and I’m urging anyone who saw any suspicious activity in these areas, anyone who recognises the man from the description or anyone else who may have information which could help our investigation to please get in contact with us.

“If you have any information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, please call Nottinghamshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 350 of 30 May 2021, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

DS Hall added: “It’s very easy for anyone to fall victim to distraction thefts/burglaries because they prey on people who may be off guard or confused, and then use the element of surprise to their advantage.

“They can be very deceptive and convincing and will also prey on a person’s goodwill and trusting nature.

“The message we want people to make their elderly or vulnerable relatives, friends or neighbours aware of is simple – if you’re not sure, don’t open the door. If you see somebody acting suspiciously report it to the police immediately by calling 101 or, in an emergency, call 999.

“Don’t let anyone in your home without valid identification, keep the chain on the door while talking to them and check with the company that the person is purporting to be from. Don’t open your door unless you know who it is – use a door spy hole or door chain.

“Tackling and reducing burglary/distraction offences remains a priority for the force, including the effective use of its dedicated burglary teams along with the divisional CID teams, but we need the public to help us by following our crime prevention advice.

“If you know someone who could benefit from our advice, who is not on social media, please call them and make them aware.

“Burglars are often opportunistic thieves, looking for the easiest way of getting into your home without being seen or disturbed.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your front and back doors and your windows are kept locked, even when you’re in the house.

“There are also steps people can take to remove the temptation for burglars by keeping possessions out of sight and making it seem like someone’s at home.”

In order to establish whether or not someone calling at your home is genuine you can follow these simple steps:

•  LOCK – Keep your front and back doors locked even when you are at home.

•  STOP – Before you answer, stop and think whether you are expecting anyone. Check you have locked the back door and taken the key out. Look through a spy hole or window to see who the caller is.

•  CHAIN – If you decide to open the door, put the chain or door bar on first, if you have one. Keep the chain or bar on while you are talking to the caller. With PVC doors, it can be difficult and costly to fit a door chain, consider fitting a Secure Ring instead.

•  FIRE SAFETY – Only put on your door chain as you answer the door, don’t keep it on all the time as this could delay your exit in case of fire.

•  CHECK – Look at their clothing. Some official callers will have a uniform bearing their organisation name or logo. Even if the caller has a pre-arranged appointment with you, check their identification card carefully. Close the door while you do this. If you are still unsure, call the company concerned to verify their representative’s identity. If you’re still not sure ask the caller to come back later when someone is with you.

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