Police alert to bogus officials scam

PUBLISHED: 16:01 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 19:48 01 June 2010

POLICE issued an urgent warning to householders, particularly the elderly, to be alert to bogus officials operating in the Fens following two distraction burglaries yesterday, (Wednesday September 20). A young male posing as water board official called at

POLICE issued an urgent warning to householders, particularly the elderly, to be alert to bogus officials operating in the Fens following two distraction burglaries yesterday, (Wednesday September 20).

A young male posing as water board official called at the homes of elderly people in Nordelph, near Downham Market and Outwell, near Wisbech, and distracted their victims while a second young male stole cash from the home.

The first offence happened between 3pm and 3.30pm at The Cottons, Outwell, where £500 was stolen from the home of an elderly gentleman.

At 3.40pm, what is believed to be the same pair of thieves, called at the home of a woman in her 80s in Outwell Road, Nordelph. While the first male distracted the woman in the kitchen, his accomplice let himself into the home to steal £215 from the lady's handbag in another room.

Both were white males aged between 17 and 19. The first male was approximately 5ft 6in tall with short dark gelled hair, wearing a pale blue long-sleeved shirt and possibly jeans.

The second male was taller, approximately 5ft 9in tall, with lighter hair, also wearing a pale-coloured checked shirt and possibly jeans.

Police spokeswoman Beth Manning said: "These burglaries follow a series of similar offences across the West Norfolk and coastal area last week. It hasn't been ruled out that the latest have been carried out by the same people.

"It is thought that the pair may have been travelling in dark green VW Polo, Golf or similar-sized vehicle and we would appeal to anyone or saw this vehicle or anyone fitting these males' descriptions to contact police immediately.

"Again, we would advise all householders to be aware of such thieves operating in the area and to take the simple steps needed to guard against them such as keeping all doors and windows locked and refusing any stranger entry to your home, without having first verified their identity."

Householders are advised to heed the following advice:

When a stranger rings your bell, be cautious. Don't let anybody in unless you are expecting them. Representatives of the water, gas and electric companies rarely make house calls without appointments.

Talk to people through the door, rather than opening it when they knock.

Ask who they are before opening the door, and then keep the door on the chain until you've seen their identification.

Make sure your back door is closed and locked before answering your front door - thieves have been known to work in pairs, with one entering through the back while the other knocks on the front door

Ask for identification - If anybody comes to your door for legitimate purposes, they will have an I.D. card from the organisation they represent. Before you even speak to them, ask to see it, and keep the door on the chain while you look it over.

If you need glasses in order to read the card, close and lock the door before going to get them. Never leave the door open and unattended.

Anyone with information about either of the burglaries is asked to contact Det Sgt Chris Curtis at Downham Market Police Station on 0845 456 4567.

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