Police are urging elderly people to be vigilant following three distraction burglaries in Coventry.
The burglaries, which are believed to be linked, happened on 26 July in Weavers Walk, Wood End and Queensland Avenue and Westwood Road in Earlsdon.
Offenders claimed that they were sent to carry out gutter maintenance at bargain prices, but twice went on to distract elderly victims and stole cash from inside their homes.
On the third occasion the three-strong gang of ‘scruffy looking’ crooks demanded payment from the homeowner – who handed over £80.
The offenders were reportedly using a white transit van and the oldest of the three was described as tall, overweight with ginger hair and an Irish accent.
Anyone with information should call 101.
Police are urging the public to remain vigilant and report all suspicious behaviour to the police. Please look out for elderly/vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours and pass on our safety messages.
Always be on your guard when anyone you’re not expecting – man, woman or child – turns up at your door.
Bogus ’officials’ may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, gas board, health authority, a charity or other organisation. They may claim to need to carry out work to remove trees or tackle a rat infestation.
Bogus ’workmen’ may say that they need to come in to check something or make urgent repairs. You also need to be careful of callers who offer to make building repairs or tarmac your drive. Often they’ll ask for money in advance; they may even offer to drive you to the bank to withdraw money to pay them.
Don’t be afraid to ask for ID! Genuine callers will normally make an appointment first and will carry identification with their photograph on.
If someone calls at your door:
Check to see who it is by using the spy hole if you have one, or look through a front window. If you have any suspicions at all, don’t open the door.
Watch out for anyone who says they’re in a hurry. Don’t let them pressure you.
Always put the chain on before you open the door. (If you don’t have a chain it’s a good idea to get one – they don’t cost much)
If you don’t know the caller, ask to see their identity card. Check it carefully, and keep the chain on while you do this. Genuine callers won’t mind if you close the door while you do this.
If you’re not sure, ask the caller to come back later. You can then check their story by phoning the organisation or company they claim to represent. Look up the number in your own telephone directory. Don’t rely on the telephone number on their card – it may be the number of a crook’s partner.
Bogus callers sometimes work in pairs. Beware of one distracting you while the other steals your property. The best practice is not to let them in.