People who prey on the elderly and vulnerable really are despicable.
So-called 'distraction' burglars who trick elderly people into letting them into their homes by pretending to be from utility companies for example, before searching the house and then stealing whatever they can get their hands on, they take much more than just property.
They often shatter the older person's confidence and trust, they make them feel vulnerable in their own homes, and they cause a great deal of worry and stress for them, their family and friends.
There has been a spate of such incidents recently in Northamptonshire, so the Police have re-issued some helpful advice reminding people what to do with unexpected callers: www.northants.police.uk/news/2016-11-10/residents-warned-not-open-door-unexpected-callers
Here are the key points:
· Don't feel pressured into opening the door - if you're not sure, don't open it.
· Make sure you can see who is at the door before you answer it - use a spy-hole or talk to them through a nearby window.
· You can set up passwords with your utility companies, and genuine callers will need to recite this password to you.
· Don't use telephone numbers on ID cards callers might produce - if the person isn't genuine, then the telephone number won't be either. Get the telephone numbers from the phone directory, save them into your mobile phone or make a list of your important numbers and keep it near the phone.
· If someone knocks on your door saying they are the Police, call 101 and check the identity with the Police control room. In an emergency call 999.
· Look out for those who are vulnerable within your family or neighbourhood and please share this information.
In Northamptonshire, agencies have come together to form the Doorstep crime Action Network (DAN). If you have any concerns that doorstep rogue traders or distraction burglars are operating in your community please call the dedicated doorstep crime hotline on 0345 23 07 702.