Thursday, 28 June 2007

Police Warning - Distraction Burglaries

Detectives from the North and East Operational Command Unit’s Priority Crime Unit are warning residents to check the identity of any unexpected callers following two distraction burglaries in the area on Friday, June 22. In both incidents, the caller claimed to be a non-uniformed police officer. The first incident occurred at 9am in Austen Grove, South Ham, Basingstoke. A man claiming to be a police officer attended the address and asked the female occupant for a sum of money to cover the costs of returning some property that had been recovered following a burglary.
The 86-year-old victim handed over £20 and the man then asked if he could come inside for a drink. The pensioner let him into the premises but the man left while she was distracted.
The man is described as:
Aged 30 to 35
5ft 4ins to 5ft 7ins
Average build
Short fair hair
Healthy complexion
Wearing a navy blue long-sleeved top and blue jeans

The second incident occurred at 11.30am in Fernhill Road, Farnborough. A man claiming to be a police officer attended the address and asked the elderly resident for his card details and PIN.
The man is described as:
Aged in his late 20s to early 30s
5ft 9ins to 5ft 10ins
Chubby face with a black moustache
Black hair
Wearing a black tracksuit
Detective Sergeant Ross Toms, from the Priority Crime Unit, said: “A genuine police officer, whether in uniform or not, will always show you their identification card and will be happy for you to check it by calling the main Hampshire Constabulary number on 0845 045 45 45.
“If you have any concerns about a caller to your door, do not let them in and call the police immediately on 999.
“Although distraction burglaries are relatively rare, these incidents can have a huge effect on the victims and can leave them feeling extremely distressed. “I would urge anyone with any information to contact police. I would also urge members of the community to keep an eye on any elderly and vulnerable neighbours and report any suspicious callers.” Officers are offering the following Safer Homes advice to avoid becoming a victim of this sort of crime: Burglars can fool you into thinking they are genuine callers. Don't be the one who invites them in. If in doubt, keep them out!

Stop – are you expecting anyone to call on you? Do you know the person at the door? Don’t be misled by what appear to be genuine reasons for calling on you.
Check – A genuine caller will carry identification and will be happy to wait outside while you check it. Remember to source your own number for the company they are claiming to be from, don’t accept a number from the caller.
Chain – fit a door chain or spy hole so that you can speak to callers or check who they are without opening the door fully.

If you turn anyone away from your home because they could not provide you with a genuine reason for being there, or you are suspicious of callers in your area, contact the police. Anyone with any information should contact Det Sgt Toms at Aldershot police station on 0845 045 45 45 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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