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Police encourage vigilance following distraction burglaries

Police in Wolverhampton are urging residents to be vigilant following a number of distraction burglaries in the region.

Between 14 July and 6 August 2010, there were a total of six distraction burglaries reported in the Ashmore Park, Pennfields, Bradley, Lanesfield and Goldthorn Park areas.

In three of the six incidents, offenders claimed to be from the water board in order to gain access to the homes of elderly residents.

Once inside, the offender distracted the householder by asking them to go into the kitchen and fill bowls or vases with water, while he or his accomplices searched the property and stole valuables.

In another incident, an offender claimed to be delivering a parcel in order to trick his way into a block of flats. Once inside, he stole cash and a laptop from a property that had been left unsecured.

In five out of the six burglaries, the offender was described as being white, early to mid-20s, between 5ft 6ins and 5ft 11ins tall, of slim build with short brown hair.

PC Ian Jones, crime reduction officer for Wolverhampton Police, said: “Distraction burglary is a disgusting crime involving vulnerable members of society being targeted by criminals.

“Offenders often pose as representatives from the water board – which doesn’t even exist anymore. They use excuses like ‘I need to check your water’, or claim that there is a leak in the area in order to gain access to people’s homes and valuables.

“Residents are advised to follow the lock, stop, chain and check rule: to keep doors LOCKED even when you are in the house, to STOP and think ‘am I expecting anyone?’, to always put the CHAIN on the door before answering and to CHECK the ID card of the person calling – looking up the phone number and calling the company they claim to represent if necessary.

“If you still have doubts, keep them out, and call the police immediately.”

If you think you may have been visited by a distraction burglar, please contact Wolverhampton Police on 0345 113 5000 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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