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Trading Standards warn residents of doorstep callers

Press Release   •   Oct 16, 2012 14:26 BST

Four incidents in six days have caused Bury Council’s Trading Standards team to urge local elderly residents to be on their guard against doorstep callers trying to gain access to their homes.

The first incident happened in Whitefield on 9 October at 10.15am when a slim, clean shaven white male around five foot seven, aged 50-55yrs with short black hair knocked at the door. He asked for some water for his car. The man had a northern accent. The householder refused the request and closed the door but the man knocked again, when the man opened the door he was pushed to the ground and threatened. The man stole a wallet from the living room then fled. He was wearing a dark jacket with no hood, dark trousers and dark shoes.

The following day in Radcliffe shortly before 10am a man described as white, in his 50’s, with a thin face and long thin nose, called upon an elderly lady, he claimed to be from the water board. He asked to come in to the property and check the water and the householder let him in. He asked her to turn the water on in the bathroom while he checked the kitchen. When the householder came back to the kitchen, the male had gone along with the her handbag.  He was wearing a dark coloured woolly hat, and a dark fleece jacket. This is just one of a few similar incidents in the Radcliffe area in the last few weeks.

On 14 October in the Moorside area of Bury shortly before half three in the afternoon a white, male, five ft six, with a slim build, wearing blue jeans, black trainers and a black bomber jacket approached his victim who was sat at her computer waiting for someone to come and fix a leaking drain pipe. Slurring his words the man leaned in through the open window and told her he was from the council, checking drainpipes for leaks. He told her that needed to inspect the water in the house. The householder allowed him entry, because she thought he was from the council, despite having no identification. He went into the kitchen and tried to take her bag, but she managed to stop him.

Ten minutes later in the Bury east area an elderly householder was sitting in her living room doing a crossword, when she heard a bang in her kitchen. When she went to investigate she found a white, man with short brown hair, age 45, wearing a black anorak who told her he was from the council and that he had come to check the windows.  No identification was shown, the male walked round the property looking at the windows but left empty handed.

Peter Jagger from the council’s trading standards team said,” Preying on people by forcing or tricking their way into the homes of pensioners is despicable. These residents are doing nothing more than enjoying the peace and sanctity of their own homes until some  conman comes along and takes their possessions and robs them of their confidence and security. It’s appalling and I urge anyone with information to contact the police. These people must be stopped”.

He added that: "Genuine callers will have identification and usually have an appointment they understand the importance of waiting whilst you make the necessary checks. If you have any doubts or if they are persistent, then contact the police on 101, who will be able to give you advice.

Gaynor Mason Bury’s Crime Reduction Specialist said ‘Anyone who comes to your home claiming to be from the Waterboard will be bogus. the waterboard no longer exists, it is now united utilities.  United Utilities never enter your home to check for leaks or contamination, anyone using that story is suspicious.. Put the chain on the door before opening it and remember it’s your door if you choose not to answer or open the door that’s your decision. Keep safe by keeping ground floor Windows closed and doors  locked

People should also never agree to anything on the spot or pay cash up front.

Bury Police offer a free security survey and fitting of extra door and window security for anyone over the age 65. Contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101 or Gaynor Mason Crime Reduction Specialist 0161 856 8046 email gaynor.mason@gmp.police.uk