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Bogus Callers

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Bogus Callers

Postby spwebco on 18 Jan 2010, 17:32

NHW Message 18/01/2010

We have had a few reports of suspicious callers visiting properties in the Burgess Hill area recently. We are keen to remind NHW members of basic security measures when opening the door. Remember to use a door chain if you have one and if you are not comfortable answering the door, ask the caller to come back at a more convenient time. Most legitimate companies make appointments and are happy to come back at a mutually agreeable time.

Remember to check any ID shown to you and if in doubt ask them to wait whilst you call the company to check.

If you feel that the call is suspicious, please report it to Sussex Police as soon as possible (via 999 in an emergency or on 0845 60 70 999 for non-emergencies) ensuring that you give the call taker as much information as possible. This would include descriptions of any clothing/accents/cars used etc.

Sussex Police have a variety of literature and door stickers available with regard to cold callers and basic home security. For more information please contact your local PCSO via the Sussex Police website http://www.sussex.police.uk or via 0845 60 70 999.
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Re: Bogus Callers - further warnings

Postby spwebco on 20 Jan 2010, 14:51

Sussex Police today renew the warning to local residents to be on the alert for suspicious callers after four incidents yesterday evening (Monday, January 18) in which people posing as police officers called at addresses in Brighton, Portslade, and Crawley.

In one case they managed to steal £100 cash and in another a set of keys, but at another address the alert resident refused to let them in. At the fourth address in Crawley, nothing was stolen.

The first two incidents happened just before and just after 6pm respectively in Langley Crescent, Woodingdean, Brighton. In each case a man called at the door and purported to be a police officer. In one case he spoke of someone allegedly being on the roof but the 81-year-old woman resident refused to let him in. At the second address occupied by a 86-year-old woman he walked in and went round the house before leaving with her handbag containing £30 cash, and a set of keys.

About an hour later three men posing as police officers called at an address in Drove Crescent, Portslade, occupied by an elderly couple, and claimed to be investigating a burglary there. They entered and stole £120 cash.

The fourth reported incident took place shortly before 8.30pm the same evening at flat in Broadfield, Crawley. Again three men posing a police officers and presenting what appeared to be identity badges of some sort, They told the 88-year-old male occupant that his flat had been burgled and went inside. Nothing was stolen.

The man who called at the addresses in Woodingdean is described as being in his twenties, about 5' 6' and slim, with short dark hair. He was wearing a long sleeved black top or anorak with dark trousers. In one of the incidents he is described as wearing a fur hat with ear muffs and in the other one as having slightly tanned or olive skin.

The descriptions of the three Portslade offenders are described as suspect one: a mixed race or Asian man, aged about 20, slim, and wearing a shirt and tie, a navy blue three-quarter-length fleece jacket with some sort of emblem on the left shoulder and dark trousers. He had short black hair and spoke with a Southern accent.

Suspect two was a white man aged between 20 and 30, slim and wearing very similar clothes to suspect one. He also wore a hat and spoke with a southern accent.

Suspect three was a white man aged between 35 and 40. He was well built with a southern accent.

The description of the Crawley offenders are similar to those of the Portslade offenders.

Only yesterday police reported a 43 per cent drop in distraction burglaries in Sussex over the past year, but these latest incidents, which police are treating as linked, are a timely reminder that thieves of this type are still active.

Detective Sergeant Chris Sherwell of Brighton CID said: "The woman who kept the caller out acted very sensibly and did the right thing by reporting suspicions immediately. Unfortunately the other victims were taken in by the suspects, who prey on older or vulnerable people for just this reason."

Bogus callers target older people - the average age of their victims is 81. Sixty per cent of victims are women and the vast majority live alone. Typically, bogus callers con people out of cash and valuables. While the loss of these items can be distressing, of greater impact to the victim may be the stress that such an attack causes. It may have a significant impact on the victim's confidence and may lead to deterioration in the victim's overall health.

Police repeat their advice to the elderly when dealing with cold callers at the door - when you hear that there is someone at the door:
Take your time - a genuine caller will wait.
Check your doors are locked - offenders can come in pairs, one will enter the back while the accomplice distracts you at the front.
Look and see who is there using the door viewer or nearby window.
If you decide to open the door apply your door chain or door bar.
Remember - identification is very easy to reproduce. Any ID offered should be verifiable. Make that phone call and check it.
If you are not happy with the caller and your suspicions are aroused call Sussex Police on 0845 60 70 999 or in an emergency dial 999.

Anyone who has any information about the incidents, or who has also been approached in their homes by bogus police officers, is asked to contact Sussex Police via 0845 60 70 999. You can also call Crimestoppers free on 0800 555111. You don't have to leave your name.
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