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Thursday, 24 September 2020

Warning after 94-year-old Notts man becomes victim of distraction burglary

Once in the property the suspect has asked the victim if he could swap a £20 note for two £10 notes. This identified where the victim kept his money.


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Police are appealing for witnesses after a 94-year-old man was the victim of a distraction burglary at his Collingham home.

A man called at the victim’s home, off High Street, claiming to be a concerned neighbour and told him that prowlers were around in the local area.

Once in the property, the suspect has asked the victim if he could swap a £20 note for two £10 notes. This identified where the victim kept his money.

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The suspect then went into the kitchen and turned the taps on full, claiming there was dirty water coming through. He left the tap on and walked out which distracted the victim long enough for him to be able to take a quantity of money and leave.

The burglary happened at around 6 pm on Monday (13 January 2020).

Detective Constable Andrew Brownless, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Our enquiries are ongoing, including checking for CCTV opportunities.

“We’re appealing for any witnesses or anyone who may have recorded CCTV or dashcam footage to call us on 101, quoting incident number 596 of 14 January 2020.

“We’d urge people to make sure their front and back doors and windows are locked at all times, even when they’re at home.

“Distraction burglars often prey on our most vulnerable residents, tricking their way into homes by making up stories, by pretending to work for an official company or asking for help to try to gain entry.

“We want to remind people to be on their guard, especially if someone you’re not expecting – a man, woman or even a child – knocks on your door.

“Don’t allow anyone without valid identification access to your home and, if you’re unsure, don’t let them in. Keep the chain on the door while talking to them and check with the company that the person is purporting to be from.

“Our advice is always to say no to cold-callers and to report any suspicious activity to police immediately.”

There is lots of advice you can follow to prevent you from becoming a victim of distraction burglary:

* 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. Check with the manufacturer before you buy a PVC door, that a chain can be fitted.

* 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.

Advice on bogus callers:

* You should never agree to have any work done by someone who is just passing by.

* Ensure your back door is locked if you are answering the front door to someone you don’t know.

* Watch out for anyone who says they’re in a hurry or it’s an emergency. Don’t let them pressure you. If in doubt, call a neighbour or friend or the police.

* If you think a bogus caller has been to your home, call the police immediately on 999.

* Never let someone into your house because you don’t want to seem rude or unsympathetic.

* Consider fitting a door chain and spy-hole to your front door; outside lighting can also help you identify callers. Never let anyone into your home unless you are satisfied about who they are and what they want.

* Public service employees are required to show identity cards when they come to your home. Examine the card carefully as fake cards have been used. The card should have a photograph and the name of the organisation. If you are at all worried, ring the organisation to check the caller is genuine. Use the telephone number given in the phone book or on your utility bill, rather than the one printed on the identity card. A genuine worker won’t mind waiting.

* Most energy companies give you the option to submit readings by phone and online, and this could be used to avoid the above situation.

* If you need to have your meters checked but have difficulty reading identity cards, ring the number given on your bills and ask if they operate a free password scheme. This would mean that when a meter reader called they would identify themselves by the password you have given.

* Be wary of employing tradespeople who come to the door offering bargain prices for work they say you need doing to your house. If you need building work doing, it is usually best to ask for several written quotes from trustworthy and established firms.

* If you have a back door, make sure it is locked before answering the front door. Some thieves work in pairs and one will keep victims talking at the front door while the other tries to enter by the back door.

* Your local council may provide a community alarm scheme for elderly or disabled people. Ask at your local police station or council offices.

* If you are at all nervous, you could ask whoever is at the door to come back at an appointed time and arrange to have someone with you.

* For more advice on how to deal with unwanted callers, please follow this link https://bit.ly/2N4Pn0p

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