Friday 19 January - Friday 26 January
News and appeals
Some burglars prey on people’s trust and kindness and use distraction as a means of getting into your home. A distraction burglar/bogus caller's intention is to trick people into allowing them into the property, or create a diversion so an accomplice can sneak in. Because elderly or vulnerable people are often targeted, distraction burglary can have a devastating effect - victims can lose their confidence and peace of mind, as well as money and possessions. Distraction burglars make up a story to get into your home, with only one intention - to steal! They often pose as a tradesmen or officials or ask for your help with something:
· Playing for sympathy - "I've broken down, please can I use your phone?" "I don't feel very well, could I use your toilet or get a glass of water?"
· Lost ball - "I've lost my ball/my son's lost his ball, please could I look for it in your garden?"
· Good Samaritan - "I've just caught someone climbing out of your window, I think they might have stolen something. We need to check your money hasn't been taken."
· Using children - "Hello could my son and I come in to ask you some questions for his school project?"
· Fake emergency - "There's a gas leak/flood in your road, I have to come in to turn off your supply."
· Leaving a note - "I've popped round to see my auntie/friend who lives next door, but she's out at the moment. Please could I borrow a pen and paper to leave a note?"
Some work alone, but often they work in groups of two or more, usually one person will knock at your door with a convincing excuse that seems genuine or urgent. The talker will persuade you to let them into your house and keep you occupied whilst others sneak in and search your house to steal cash and valuables. Distraction burglars can be men, women or children and sometimes a combination, smartly or casually dressed.
Be vigilant of unknown people calling round
· Don't let anyone into your home that you don't know. Always ask for identification - official visitors won't mind being asked for ID.
· Fit a door chain, if you have a solid front door, fit a wide angle door viewer.
· If you were not expecting anyone, explain that you need to check they are legitimate and ask them to wait outside for a few minutes. Take a note of their name and the company they claim to be working for and then close and lock the door.
· Look up the phone number for the company in a telephone directory or on the internet and check they have an employee of that name and that they are visiting you on legitimate business. Never just take someone's word for it and don't use any phone number they give you to check their identity - you don't know if it's a genuine number.
· If someone is asking for a favour, such as to use your toilet, borrow a pen or retrieve a ball, don't let them in. Instead direct them to a shop, office or public place. It's only natural to want to help someone, but sadly that's one of the techniques often used by distraction burglars.
· If you have any concerns about someone who has called at your door, call police immediately. If you have a chance try to note what they look like and any vehicle they have with them, so police can investigate.
On Sunday (21 January), a house was broken into on Railway Road in Newhaven. Nothing was taken (ref: 0051 22/01).
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