doorstep callers warning
issued to Burnham residents
have this week warned residents across the Burnham-On-Sea area
to beware of bogus callers.
Recently there have been a number of reported distraction burglaries
where criminals have gained access to people's homes by pretending
to be from a water company or using children to distract the homeowner
by claiming they've lost a ball in their garden.
Over the past month, money has been stolen from homes after residents
have answered the door to a young person stating they had lost
their ball in the victim's garden. While the victim was distracted,
a second person entered the houses and stole property.
There were also offences reported to police across the force
area where bogus 'Water Board' and fake Dyno-rod officials have
tricked their way into homes before stealing cash, purses and
tips for avoiding doorstep crime
Always make sure visitors to your home are who they
say they are by asking to see their identification.
Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller,
as they may be bogus. Always use a number from your utility
bill or a phone book.
'Water boards' no longer exist, it is an obsolete phrase
used only by bogus callers.
Ensure that if you do let somebody in to your home,
that you close the door behind them - distraction burglars
often work in teams, where one will distract you while another
sneaks in through the insecure door.
Always close and lock your back door before answering
the front door.
Superintendent Trevor Margenout, who leads Avon and Somerset's
fight against doorstep criminals, said: "Offenders have been
knocking on doors, unfortunately targeting elderly and more vulnerable
people, and claiming they are fixing water leaks and burst pipes
in the road."
"A common theme in these offences is that victims are being
told either that there has been an explosion nearby and the water
needs to be turned off or that there is blue dye in the water,
and they need the victim to run the kitchen taps to check the
"If someone knocks on your door and you hear these things,
alarm bells should start ringing. There is no longer a water board
it is a term used only by bogus callers. Water companies
also never put dye into the water."
He added: "Since the formation of the Bristol Doorstep Crime
Team and Avon and Somerset's work to tackle doorstep crime with
the national Operation Liberal, we have reduced distraction burglaries
and rogue trading offences by more than 50% across the force."
"In turn there has been a substantial increase in the number
of crimes being detected with more offenders being identified
and locked up than ever before."
"Be wary of unknown, unscheduled callers just because
they have a plastic ID card and a boiler suit it does not make
them genuine. A genuine official will understand and will happily
make a future appointment or provide credentials to confirm their
If you believe that you have seen or been visited by these offenders
then please report it to the police on 101 or contact Crimestoppers
on 0800 555 111.