Distraction Burglary

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Bogus Caller Impostor and Deception Theft or Distraction Burglary by Traveling Criminals

Burglary Prevention Tips

01/08 - (UK) - THAME Police are appealing for information and urging the public to be vigilant after a distraction burglary in Thame.

At about 5.15pm two men, claiming to be from the water board, went to a property in Rooks Lane. They said that they needed to get in and turn off the water because a neighbour was having problems with their water.

One man stayed with the occupier, a woman, while the other man went into the house. The man who was with the woman asked her if she had for a £10 note and when she said that she didn’t have any change he snatched her purse and took £50 in cash out. The men left the property, stealing the cash and a silver-coloured torch.”

One of the burglars is described as white with an Irish accent. He is 5ft 6ins medium build and was wearing a long coat.

On the same day, between 3.45pm and 4.15pm a man went to the door or a property in Pearce Court in Thame and said that the flat upstairs was leaking water. He asked if he could come in to the kitchen. The occupier let him in and then heard a noise from her living room. A second man came from the living room and said that there was no leak.

One of the men is white, about 5ft 9ins, slim with an Irish accent. He was aged in his twenties. The second man is slightly bigger, with darker skin and dark hair.

Det Con Georgina Bradley said: “We are linking these incidents as they both happened in the close vicinity to each other. I am appealing for information from anyone who may have seen any suspicious activity in the area. This type of burglary is particularly nasty and can leave the victim distressed and we are keen to catch the offenders.

“There is no reason why a stranger should ever come into your home. All agencies or utility companies should make an appointment and also use a password system. It is important to know that there is no such thing as the ‘water board’.

“I would urge anyone with elderly or vulnerable relatives, neighbours or carers to check their home security and alert them to the dangers of opening the door to a stranger.

“Distraction burglars prey on the elderly and vulnerable. If you see people calling at houses and are suspicious of their intentions, I would urge you to contact police immediately.”

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Det Con Bradley at Thame police station via 0845 8 505 505, or if you don’t want to talk to the police or give your name, call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.

Lesley Nesbitt, Crime Reduction Advisor, would like to offer the following advice to Thame residents:

LOCKED - If someone knocks on your door and you are not expecting them before you go to your front door make sure your rear door is secure.

STOP – If someone knocks at your door stop and think, “Am I expecting someone?” Look through your spy hole or through a window to see who is at your door.

CHAIN – Put your door chain on before opening the door.

CHECK – Ask for the callers Identification and check this by phone.



Signs to Ward Off Unwanted Cold Callers

03/08 - (UK) - Blackpool Council, through the BSafe Blackpool partnership, is lending its full support to an initiative which will mark Blackpool as the second largest participant in the scheme nationwide.

In the next few weeks all 70,000 residents the resort will receive a No Cold Caller Information Pack' through their door that will give them everything they need to know in order to say "NO" to cold callers.

The packs have been produced by the Blackpool Residents Federation, the council's Trading Standards Team and Blackpool Police to help reduce the chances of falling victim to doorstep or distraction crime.

Doorstep Crime' is crime arising from doorstep callers, bogus workmen, high pressure salespeople, bogus officials and distraction burglary.

It is now well established that distraction burglaries and rogue trading are interlinked - all too often, the seemingly innocent doorstep seller is actually checking things out for a re-visit to carry out a burglary or distraction crime, according to police.

A national Trading Standards Institute survey involved feedback from 9,000 randomly selected households.

The results showed that nationally, 96 per cent of people simply did not want doorstep cold-callers and nobody actually welcomed them.

In response to the growing concerns about this form of crime the Blackpool Residents Federation worked tirelessly to source funding from area forums, Trading Standards, Police, Bsafe Partnership, Primary Care Trust and a local councillor to create the 'No Cold Caller Zone' as a pilot in Marton in January last year.

Bruce Allen, chairman of the Blackpool Residents' Federation, said: "Gone are the days when doors could be left open and salespeople were invited in for a cup of tea.

"The people of Blackpool are being plagued by cold callers offering products and services that are below standard.

"Other callers are forceful and aggressive and others are completely bogus.

"We had to take a stand and make these people realize that they are not welcome and should stay away.

"The Marton pilot was a great success; it is not always easy to say no to people once they have a foot in your door.

"I must say I was very pleased with how companies that use cold calling respected our wishes and stayed away."

After the success of the pilot and thanks to a huge number of requests from other residents, the scheme is now ready to be extended across the whole of Blackpool, making it the second largest No Cold Caller Zone' in the country.

Every residential property in Blackpool will receive a No Cold Caller Pack that will include a window sticker and booklet of information and advice.

The scheme will be highlighted by strategically placed Road Signs on every road entering Blackpool, which will inform travelling businesses that they are not welcome in Blackpool.

For those who don't want to be hassled by high pressure salesmen or shady rogue traders the scheme is backed up with an enforcement response from Trading Standards.

Where appropriate, Trading Standards officers and the police will attend the scene and intervene on the consumer's behalf.

PC Andy Denton, Western Division Crime Prevention Officer, said: "The creation of this zone will go a long way to reducing the number of crimes committed against property and the more vulnerable members of our community.

"It will increase reassurance and the quality of life for all Blackpool residents.

"I would urge anyone becoming aware of people breaching the zone to report it to Consumer Direct as soon as possible so that appropriate action can be taken."

However, the scheme is not targeted towards Direct Sales Association companies such as Avon, Betterware etc who operate within their OFT backed Code of Practice.

While the utility companies and charitable organisations continue to use unsolicited calling, the council is asking them to respect the resident's wishes and not to call.

Councillor Tony Williams, chairman for BSafe Blackpool, adds: "There may be some worries that the scheme will prevent legitimate companies from approaching homes and therefore be a problem for them.

"This is not the case at all and we would be happy to return to the days when salespeople were welcomed.

"However this will only happen if they stick to the rules and remain respectful of homeowner's wishes.

"They will achieve more by being friendly and if they see a sign on a door asking them not to visit they can save themselves time and move on.

"This scheme is a preventative measure to protect our residents from the threat of rogue traders or intrepid burglars."

If you have received an unsolicited visit from a doorstep caller and are displaying a No Cold Caller' window sticker and you wish to report this contact Blackpool Trading Standards on 01253 478375 or Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or online by clicking the link below.


Burglary Theft Con Artist Sent to Jail

01/08 - (UK) - A NORTHOLT burglar hooked on heroin who preyed on elderly and frail people has been jailed for nine months.

Kara Booth, of Lilian Borde Way, Northolt, tricked her way into elderly people's homes by pretending to be a charity worker or saying she was conducting a police survey.

When inside her victims' houses, 22-year-old Booth raided their handbags and wallets, stealing hundreds of pounds.

She appeared at Isleworth Crown Court yesterday (Friday, January 18), and admitted four charges of distraction burglary, with another 11 similar offences were taken into consideration.

In November last year, she went on a burglary spree, including raids on two homes in Church Road, Hanwell.

Prosecutor Douglas Adams told the court she got into the houses "by claiming to be a charity worker or, sometimes, doing a police survey. Once inside, the occupants would give her some small change and then discover, when she left, that she had raided handbags and purses for cash and credit cards".

Booth, who had been addicted to heroin but quit while in prison on remand, confessed to a string of burglaries when caught by police.

Jailing her, Recorder John Hobson QC said: "You have been preying mostly on the elderly and vulnerable people in order to steal from them to finance your drug habit.

"While I am certainly sympathetic to your circumstances, only a custodial sentence can be justified.

"I hope you will use the opportunities available in there to continue to clear yourself of drugs and to gain some sort of skill".

Booth sobbed uncontrollably as she was jailed for nine months yesterday (Friday, January 18) at Isleworth Crown Court.

(Harrow Times)

Police Comment on Burglary Crime Sentence

01/08 - (UK) - Officers from the Telford Police Burglary Unit in have given their reaction following the sentencing of Wayne Titley on Friday 25 January. At a hearing at Shrewsbury Crown Court, Titley pleaded guilty to a charge of burglary and was sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

The hearing dated back to a distraction burglary that occurred on 27th April 2007 at sheltered accommodation on Chockleys Meadow in Leegomery.

Detective Sergeant Dave Pankhurst said: "This was a 'classic' distraction burglary - one of the most heartless and despicable crimes that an individual can commit.

"We are certain the victim, an 83-year-old man, was targeted because of his age and vulnerability and we believe Titley actually attended the address in question on three separate occasions before finally gaining entry.

"Once inside the address, the victim was distracted in the kitchen while Titley pretended he needed to use the toilet before carrying out a search of the living room.

"Titley's search led to him stealing a wallet and £60 in cash from the victim before calmly leaving the scene of his crime.

"To the victim of this burglary it represented a large sum of money. He was also extremely shaken by his traumatic experience and has been concerned about the possibility of the offender returning ever since. We are pleased the victim can now relax in the knowledge that Titley is serving a prison sentence.

"We also hope this prosecution demonstrates that we take crimes such as this extremely seriously and that we will do everything within our powers to ensure that offenders are brought to justice.

"I would like to take this opportunity to once again remind the public that they should be wary of anyone who knocks on their door asking to use the phone, the toilet or wanting a glass of water. They should ask themselves - 'Why have they knocked on my door?'

"In many cases a good-natured and kind response to such requests for help results in someone becoming a victim of crime themselves. Remember our motto "If in doubt, keep em out!" and contact the Police."

West Mercia Constabulary's Knock-Knock campaign calls on everyone to help tackle these distressing crimes and offers crime prevention advice to advise people about what they can do to make their lives more secure.

Residents, especially elderly or vulnerable people, are reminded to exercise extreme caution when opening the door to someone they do not know.

For example, callers from utility companies will carry an identification badge that should be carefully checked, and genuine callers will not mind waiting outside while checks are made with the organisation they claim to represent.

Members of the local community can help by:

  • Keeping an eye on people calling in the area or acting suspiciously
  • Noting the registration numbers of vehicles parked in the area for a period of time
  • Encouraging vulnerable people to check a caller's identity carefully and to keep their door on a chain. If they have any doubt about the caller's integrity they should not let them into their home
  • Call on vulnerable people on a regular basis. If it is not too much trouble, help them keep their front garden tidy and find reliable tradespeople for any maintenance work that really does need to be undertaken
  • Calling 08457 444 888 to provide information to the police about suspicious people, activity or vehicles however insignificant it may seem
  • If a distraction burglary has taken place or been attempted, encourage the victim to report it as quickly as possible

For further information about preventing distraction burglaries and other crime prevention advice please visit the force website www.westmercia.police.uk

Unexpected Caller Fraud - article

Burglary Robbery

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