It costs nothing to secure your home

People vulnerable to distraction burglaries, bogus callers and other crimes can seek help through a range of schemes on offer in Norfolk.

People vulnerable to distraction burglaries, bogus callers and other crimes can seek help through a range of schemes on offer in Norfolk.

The county's trading standards department and its Partners Against Crime Taskforce (PACT) work alongside Norfolk police in a bid to stop criminals preying on the elderly and others who are liable to fall victim to such cons.

The schemes are highlight as the EDP runs its Keep Them Out campaign in conjunction with the police. The campaign aims to highlight the problem and offer advice on how to stop the criminals in their tracks. It comes after officers noticed a worrying rise in the number of offences in recent months.

Norfolk PACT is a community partnership combining business, industry, the public sector and the people of Norfolk. One of its projects is the Safe and Secure Scheme which involves security equipment being fitted free of charge.

George Hayes, chief executive of Norfolk PACT, said: “The scheme is aimed at assisting some of the most vulnerable members of the community by providing increased security to homes.

“Our carpenter is crime prevention trained by the police and will fit a range of equipment, free of charge in most cases, subject to eligibility, to reduce crime and the fear of crime.”

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Hundreds of properties have been helped over the past ten years with equipment including the installation of security bolts, door chains and various types of locks.

Project manager Teresa Tucker said: “The scheme is not just about fitting security hardware to properties. It is also about education and ensuring that door chains, locks etc are used in the correct manner.

“Our carpenter takes great care to reassure elderly and often vulnerable residents that Norfolk is one of the safest places in the country in which to live but that care needs to be taken to ensure that it remains so as we all have a part to play in keeping Norfolk safe.”

Norfolk County Council trading standards has also introduced No Cold Calling Zones, the first of which was set up in East Harling in December. Such schemes have previously been set up in Cambridgeshire which saw an 11pc drop in distraction burglaries.

A no cold calling zone is a designated area where the community declare they no longer wish to accept traders calling at their homes without an appointment. Signs are installed of signs at the entrance and exit to the zone and residents are supplied with educational and advice information and door stickers.

Communties wishing to take part can download application from www.norfolk.gov.uk or write to Norfolk County Council Trading Standards Service, County Hall, Martineau Lane, Norwich NR1 2UD.

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 wide range of services is available from At Home, Not Alone on 0844 8008014.

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.