Bid to stop bogus callers is working

A senior police officer hailed the EDP's Keep Them Out campaign a success after a surge in the number of people reporting bogus callers. The campaign in conjunction with Norfolk police was launched last month and aimed to highlight the record number of elderly people falling victim to distraction burglars and doorstep conmen.

A senior police officer hailed the EDP's Keep Them Out campaign a success after a surge in the number of people reporting bogus callers.

The campaign in conjunction with Norfolk police was launched last month and aimed to highlight the record number of elderly people falling victim to distraction burglars and doorstep conmen.

Since then, officers have received 13 calls related to bogus officials. Three of these were distraction burglaries and, although the remainder turned out to be genuine utility workers, police said they were pleased householders had begun to exercise extra caution.

Det Supt Julian Blazeby said: "I am glad to see our campaign has highlighted the issue to householders and they are checking if callers are genuine.

"In some cases it may be the utility worker is not in uniform but can be identified by clearly marked ID cards. The fact that we are receiving calls and the callers are identifying bogus officials is excellent. It means the message is getting through and questions are being asked before they are let in."

Meanwhile, an 89-year-old woman who had her pension stolen by a distraction burglar just weeks before Christmas has spoken out to warn others.

Most Read

Beattie Doe, who lives near Wymondham, became a victim on December 1 after visiting the nearby post office. Police believe the offender followed her home knowing she had collected her pension.

She said: "When I got home I heard a man knocking on my window. I didn't want to go to the door because I didn't know him, but he kept knocking and then went to the back door.

"I went to see what he wanted and he kept saying, 'There is somebody in the bungalow next door who shouldn't be there'. I couldn't work out what he meant.

"I went to get a pen and paper so he could write down the details, but when I got back, my handbag had gone and he was nowhere to be seen. I lost my pension for the fortnight and was left with nothing to live off."

Miss Doe is just one of hundreds of pensioners to fall victim to such cons. In the six months leading up to Christmas, police received almost 50 reports of such crimes but they believe only a small proportion are reported, meaning hundreds more take place each year.

Since the offence, Miss Doe has had new locks and other security devices fitted and now only allows callers she is expecting to enter her home.

"If somebody comes to the door I don't recognise, I send them away," she said. "Genuine callers can arrange to come back at a convenient time and don't mind having their identity checked."

Another way householders can protect themselves is to take part in the Nominate a Friend scheme which involves placing a sticker on their door with contact details of a trusted individual who can deal with the caller on their behalf.

Leaflets offering advice on avoiding bogus callers, along with Nominate a Friend stickers, are available from all EDP offices. Information is also available at www.EDP24.co.uk

Advice on a range of services is available from At Home, Not Alone on 0844 800 8014.

If you have been a victim, or know of someone who has been a victim of this type of crime or is vulnerable to it, contact Norfolk police on 0845 456 4567. In emergencies always dial 999.