Police step up patrols to beat the bogus callers

POLICE in Northumberland are working with partners and residents to tackle bogus officials, con men and distraction burglars.

Officers are stepping up patrols and speaking with residents to offer reassurance and advice.

Although distraction offences across the force fell from 90 offences between March to December 2009, compared to 71 in the same period during 2010, there have been a number of recent cases of con men targeting vulnerable people.

Almost 4,000 leaflets are being given to Northumberland residents, with useful information such as crime prevention advice and contact details for police.

Officers from neighbourhood policing teams are carrying out extra patrols in areas where criminals might target potentially vulnerable residents and high profile and covert operations are being carried out to disrupt and arrest those responsible for these type of offences.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Reeve, from Northumberland Area Command, said: “The action that we’re taking is aimed at raising awareness about those criminals who try to con, distract and lie their way into people’s homes.

“We would ask people to remain vigilant at all times when answering the door to someone they’re not expecting. They should check identity cards, which should include a photograph of the caller and details of the company.

“If the caller is genuine, they won’t mind coming back and having their credentials checked.

“We work closely with the local authorities and other agencies to identify those living in Northumberland that could be seen as being potentially vulnerable and to ensure they receive the support that they need to stay safe.”

Officers are also visiting places such as care homes, banks, bingo halls, supermarkets, doctors’ surgeries and pubs and clubs across the county to speak to residents and pass on advice.

Head of Trading Standards for Northumberland County Council Alan Kirsop said: “One way of ensuring that a trader is trustworthy and qualified is to check their credentials via a new scheme set up by Northumberland Trading Standards Service, in conjunction with Northumberland Care Trust and North Tyneside Trading Standards Service.

“Residents can be given details of reputable traders in their area by calling 0845 6006400 or by visiting the website www.traderregister.org.uk/nnt”

Anyone who sees anything suspicious when they or neighbours receive visits from people they do not know should telephone police on 03456 043043.