Songs to beat the conmen

Tights-wearing actors with falsetto voices are not an obvious face of crime prevention. But, according to police, getting elderly people to learn a catchy song could be key to keeping them safe.

Tights-wearing actors with falsetto voices are not an obvious face of crime prevention.

But, according to police, getting elderly people to learn a catchy song could be key to keeping them safe. Never mind Cats or Phantom of the Opera, here is a musical about distraction burglary.

Trickster - the Musical has mem-orable tunes, professional actors and is being performed in theatres, public halls and community centres. Only its subject is unusual - and the fact that it is free, with organisers hoping many people will come to see it and then be less likely to fall prey to doorstep callers.

Forest Paget, director of the Solomon Theatre Company, which is performing the musical across Suffolk, said people were "sometimes a bit surprised" to see a musical about distraction burglary,

"It is a lovely way of conveying a message. We use songs because that appeals to the audience we are trying to reach," he said.

"The programme has the songs in and they join in straight away. They love it. After the show there is a singalong of all the wartime favourites.

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"Because we are targeting the older age group, the format works very well - I can't see it working with a drugs talk for 14-year-olds."

He said the musical was designed to tell people what they can do to help themselves, and to reduce the fear and anxiety around bogus callers.

"The main message is, be careful with how you deal with people who come to your front door. Look for identification and check it and don't give away anything, whether information or money, until you are sure what you are doing."

The musical tells the story of George, a pensioner and war veteran who has recently become a victim of bogus callers. He takes police advice, and when the burglars come back he turns them away.

The show is being put on in con-junction with the Safe and Sound group - a partnership between Suffolk police, Suffolk County Council, Age Concern, Neighbour-hood Watch and other organisa-tions. It costs £750 a day to put on.

David Dyble, police community safety officer and chairman of Safe and Sound said: "People sometimes remember things better if they can link it to an enjoyable experience. If it prevents one person becoming a victim of bogus callers then it has been worthwhile."

Performances are in Lowestoft and Beccles on March 9, as well as other dates in Suffolk. For a free ticket, including light refresh-ments, call 01473 265272.

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