POLICE have warned of an increase in rogue traders and street beggars.
Morpeth Neighbourhood Policing Team is urging residents to be vigilant following a number of reports of doorstep sellers operating with false licences.
Officers are advising residents to always check the identity of unexpected callers and are promoting the Northumbria forcewide ‘If in doubt, keep them out’ campaign.
Morpeth Sergeant Sharon Wilmore-Greaves said: “If someone knocks at your door trying to sell you items be careful what you are agreeing to. If an offer sounds too good to be true then it probably is.
“Never let anyone in your home who you are unsure about and report any suspicious callers to police straight away. Also, any details of a description, direction of travel or an associated registration number of their vehicle is always helpful.
“Protecting vulnerable members of the public, such as elderly residents, is one of Northumbria Police’s highest priorities.
“Bogus callers, beggars and rogue traders often target the most vulnerable members of society. Such offences are sometimes not even reported to police as the victims are unable to protect themselves or are unaware that they are even victims of crime.
“We ask members of the community to watch out for their vulnerable neighbours and relatives. If people see questionable workmen at the homes of vulnerable people, they should not hesitate about reporting their suspicions directly to the police.”
When answering the door, residents are advised to think if a caller is expected, look through a spy hole or window to identify them and put a chain on the door before opening it and while talking to the visitor.
They should ask for an identity card and check it thoroughly, leaving the caller outside behind a locked door while checking their details.
Residents should not be hurried, pressured or confused into letting a stranger into their home.
Police say there has also been an increase in reports of young people begging on streets and have advised people to donate to a recognised charity, rather than hand over cash.
Sgt Wilmore-Greaves said: “I’d stress that most people who beg need help with a drug or alcohol addiction and some need help with housing.
“I’d encourage people who want to help, or want to make good use of their loose change, to please make a contribution to one of the many local charities in the area, which provide vital help and support to the homeless.”
Anyone with concerns about a neighbour, or who has information about a suspicious caller, should contact police on 101, ext 69191.