Elderly residents preyed on in spate of distraction burglaries


ELDERLY residents have been targeted during a spate of distraction burglaries in Newton-le-Willows.

Several homes have been targeted, with old people falling victim in many cases. The burglaries see the householder usually distracted by someone calling at the door while an accomplice gains entry to steal goods and money.

St Helens Council's cabinet member for community safety, Cllr Lisa Preston sent out a warning to residents in response to the incidents.

She said: “Some burglars prey on people's trust and kindness and use distraction as a means of getting into your home.

“A bogus caller's intention is to trick an occupier to allow 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.”

The council has issued advice for people to stay alert reminding people that the top six utility companies British Gas, E.ON, npower, Scottish Power, EDF and SSE no longer cold-call households.

The council has issued the following tips for people to keep safe with the message: if in doubt, keep them out.

1. LOCK - keep your front and back doors locked, even when at home

2. STOP - are you expecting anyone?

3. CHAIN - if you decide to open the door, put the chain on first 4. CHECK - ask for the caller's ID and check it by phone

  • · Encourage older people to get into the habit of always locking their
  • doors and by using a door chain or spy-hole.
  • · Telephone a neighbour, or a nearby friend, and ask them to come along
  • to help check out the caller before you open the door to them.
  • · Insist on checking the identity of the caller. If they are genuine,
  • they will not mind waiting or returning later. Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller as they may be bogus.
  • · Don't keep large quantities of cash at home; put it in the bank or
  • post office where it is safe.
  • · Remember, it is not rude to refuse letting a stranger into your home.

Simply remember:

  • · Lock
  • · Stop
  • · Chain
  • · Check

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