Police are advising residents to be on guard following a suspected bogus caller incident in Morpeth.
It happened at 11.33am yesterday when an elderly resident in Pegswood was visited by two workmen offering to carry out work at his property. The resident agreed and guttering work was carried out by the two men. The resident was charged a large amount of money for the work and it is believed he was deliberately targeted.
The first man is described as white, six feet two inches tall, of medium build and with short brown hair. He was wearing a raincoat. The second man is described as white, six-feet tall, of slim build with dark hair. He was clean shaven and wearing dark blue jeans and a navy top. The men were driving what is believed to be a white Transit-style van.
Officers are now appealing for residents who saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area at the time to get in touch with police and are warning residents in the area to be on guard against door-to-door workmen. The appeal is part of Operation Strongbow - an initiative which targets doorstep crimes and distraction burglaries.
Morpeth Neighbourhood Inspector Richard Anderson said: "Callers who turn-up unannounced, whether they're claiming to be carrying out work or selling something, should always be treated with caution. This is one example where this has resulted in an extortionate amount being charged for a relatively small bit of work. It's a timely reminder for people to be vigilant. Always get quotes from a number of companies before agreeing to work being done, and check identities of workmen and the company's credentials.
"Never agree to work being done by people who cold call at your home, and never leave people alone in the house, even for a few seconds. I'd also advise to move any cash or valuables out of sight. Genuine callers will not mind being asked to come back at a different time so their identification can be checked or while arrangements are made for a relative or friend to be present when they return. People should also look out for elderly relatives and neighbours and report any suspicious people or vehicles they see in their community to police. If in doubt, contact officers."
To report any information about the incident, contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 0363 24/11/15 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.