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Police warn of bogus callers

Residents in Wolverhampton are being urged to be extra vigilant following a number of distraction burglaries this week.

Residents  in Wolverhampton are being urged to be extra vigilant following a number of distraction burglaries this week.

There were three separate incidents on Tuesday (7 December) in Bradley, Bushbury and Ashmore Park between 8:15am and 4:30pm.

The first offence occurred between 8:15am and 8:30am on Olinthus Avenue, Ashmore Park. The victim, an 88-year-old man, allowed two men into his home who claimed to be doing work for the council. They got away with a large quantity of cash. The victim described the first offender as a white male, with greying brown hair and aged around 50. The second offender is described as a white male of medium build and around 5ft 7in tall, with short dark hair and in his 30s. Both were wearing blue anorak style jackets.

The second offence occurred at an address on Raleigh Road, Bradley at around 3:45pm. A man, claiming to be from the ‘water board’, gained access to the property of an 87-year-old woman. He searched the property but no items appear to have been taken. The victim described him as a white male, of muscular build, in his 20s, with dark hair and a local accent.

The third offence occurred at some point between 2pm and 4:30pm at an address on Bentley Road, Bushbury. A man claiming to be from the ‘water board’ gained access the property and got away with a large quantity of cash. He is described as a white male in his early 20s and around 5ft 3in tall.

The victims were all unhurt but shaken by the incidents.

Wolverhampton Police are issuing a reminder urging residents to always ask callers for identification before considering letting them in.

Crime Reduction Officer PC Ian Jones said: “As we have seen in these particular incidents, bogus callers often pose as representatives from organisations such as the council or the gas or water boards in order to gain access to your home and valuables.

“The first thing to remember is that the gas and water board no longer exist and that genuine companies, including the council, will usually call in advance to arrange an appointment, rather than just turning up unannounced.

“Even when the caller has an appointment, you should always ask to see their identification and check it thoroughly. If they are from a utility company, they should be able to quote your account reference number.

“If you are not expecting anyone and have not invited them, you do not have to let them in.”

Police are offering the following advice to help combat bogus callers:

LOCK – Keep your front and back doors locked, even when you are at home.
STOP – before you answer, stop and think if you are expecting anyone. Check you have locked the back door and taken the key out. Look through the spy hole or window to see who it is.
CHAIN – If you decide to open the door, put the chain or door bar on first. Keep the bar or chain on while you are talking to the person on the doorstep.
CHECK – even if they have a pre-arranged appointment, check their identity card carefully. Close the door while you do this. If you are still unsure, look up a phone number in the phone book and ring to verify their identity. Do not use a phone number on the identity card, as this may be a fake. If you have any doubts, keep them out!
Anyone with information is urged to contact Wolverhampton Police on 0345 113 5000 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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