Published: July 18, 2012
Burnham-On-Sea police issue warning over bogus callers

Police have this week warned residents in the Burnham-On-Sea area to beware of bogus callers.

It follows several distraction burglaries across the police force area where criminals have gained entry to people's homes by either pretending to be from a water company or coaxing the victim away from their doorstep by talking to them about repair work on the outside of their homes.

People had money stolen from their homes after answering the door to a man in his early 20s who said that he was doing work on behalf of the council or that there was a panel on the garden fence that needed fixing. While the victim was distracted, a second person entered the their house unnoticed and stole money.

Superintendent Keith McCoubrey, who leads Avon and Somerset Police's fight against doorstep criminals, said: "Offenders have been knocking on doors, unfortunately targeting elderly and more vulnerable people, and claiming they need to fix water leaks or they are going to be working on behalf of the local council."

"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."

"If you are visited by someone requesting access and you have not reported a water leak or you have not been informed of any work due to be carried out on the property where you live then do not let anyone into your home. Equally do not leave your door unlocked and unattended to go into the garden or the back of the house. It is common in these types of offences for criminals to work in pairs and a second person to enter a house to steal once the victim is distracted."

"Be wary of unknown, unscheduled callers – even if they have a plastic ID card or a boiler suit it does not make them genuine. A genuine official will understand if you turn them away and will happily make a future appointment or provide credentials to confirm their identity."

"Thankfully distraction burglary and rogue trading offences are falling year on year and these types of crimes happen very infrequently. But there is no room for complacency."


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