Warning after bogus officials steal cash
Dated: 17 May 2012
Police are reminding homeowners to be vigilant after three bogus caller incidents.
The first happened at 9.45am on Wednesday, May 16, when two men claiming to be from the water board visited an address off Front Street in Seaton Burn, North Tyneside.
The occupant, a woman aged in her 80s, let the men in and they left shortly afterwards without incident. However, later in the day it was found a purse containing an amount of cash had been stolen from a bedroom.
Then at 2.07pm on Wednesday two men claiming to be from the water board attended a house off Thornhill Road in Ponteland, stating they needed to check the water.
They were let into the house by the occupant, a woman aged in her 90s, and left without incident. The householder later noticed that an amount of cash had been stolen from upstairs.
And also during the day on Wednesday, two men are said to have attended a house off Station Road in Gosforth and claimed to be from a water company attending to check the supply.
They then charged the occupant, a woman aged in her 90s, a small amount of cash, which was handed over, before they left the address.
At this stage officers are keeping an open mind about whether the incidents are connected.
Superintendent Mick Paterson, Northumberland Area Command, said: "We're carrying out enquiries into all three incidents and would urge anyone who saw suspicious activity, including vehicles, in the areas or who has information about who these men are to get in touch as soon as possible.
"On each occasion they said they were from the water board and got into the house by claiming they needed to check the water. In all instances it was later found cash had been stolen from the addresses.
"It's disgraceful behaviour to target the elderly and vulnerable in our communities and we're doing all we can to trace those responsible."
Police are reminding residents to be vigilant. Superintendent Paterson added: "It's vital residents, particularly the elderly, have the relevant crime prevention advice.
"They should never let anyone who cold calls at their home into their address, always check identification with the company and if in any doubt at all contact the police.
"All legitimate workmen who are associated with utility or other companies will be more than happy to prove their credentials. We'd also ask that people watch out for their elderly relatives and neighbours."
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 ext 69191, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.