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OAPs warned after spate of distraction burglaries

PUBLISHED: 13:23 01 May 2008 | UPDATED: 12:16 07 May 2010

Householders are being warned to be vigilant after 10 distraction burglaries in Norfolk in one week.

Householders are being warned to be vigilant after 10 distraction burglaries in Norfolk in one week.

The perpetrators are targeting elderly people who live alone, during the day or early evening.

In most of the cases, an unsolicited call to a flat or house is made with the conmen claiming to be from the water board and that a tap is leaking or there are problems with water supply in the area.

In most cases one man makes the initial call at the door and while he distracts the householder a second person searches the property for cash.

Police are investigating incidents in the Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Thetford, Holt and Dereham areas.

DCI Neil Firm said: “This is a despicable type of crime that preys on the elderly and vulnerable and I would appeal to people to look out for vulnerable householders living nearby and to be vigilant about anyone acting suspiciously in their area and contact police with any concerns.

“We have very active Crime Reduction Units and any householder needing advice about home security or crime prevention should contact their nearest police station and make enquiries.

“We are urging householders to be especially wary of anyone turning up on their doorstep unannounced, who cannot provide credible identity documents.

Utility workers usually make an appointment and do not operate by trying to gain access to your home. People can help us by calling the police straight away if they have been approached by anyone they are suspicious of so we can catch the culprits red handed. If the caller is legitimate, this can also be quickly confirmed.”

Police would give the following advice:

· Elderly householders should be on their guard and members of the public who have an elderly or vulnerable neighbour or relative should be vigilant.

· Always ask for identification from any unexpected callers and do not to let anyone in if you are not comfortable

· Councils and utilities companies will generally contact householders by telephone or letter if they plan to carry out repairs rather than make unsolicited calls.

· Please report anything suspicious as soon as possible.

Anyone with any information about any of these incidents should contact Norfolk Constabulary on 0845 4564567 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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