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Police in Ellesmere Port are warning people to be vigilant following recent bogus caller incidents.
The latest was at an address in Hope Farm Road on the morning of 8 December.
A man purported to be a gas engineer and wanted to check the gas meter. The caller refused to let the man in as they had a smart meter but he remained at the front door trying to look inside. He only left when a neighbour returned home.
DI Nigel Parr said: “While the suspect didn’t manage to gain access in this instance, these incidents are very concerning so we want to take this opportunity to remind people not to let anyone into their home if they are not expecting anyone. I’d urge neighbours and families with elderly relatives to look out for them and report any suspicious activity - remind elderly neighbours, friends and family not to open the door to strangers.
“I’d like to reassure the community that we are focussing on these areas and are committed to finding whoever is trying to take advantage of vulnerable members of our community.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of people not letting anyone into their home who calls unexpectedly and if you have a chain, always use it. Make sure you ask for identification and if they provide it, close the door and check the number, but most importantly, if you have any doubts about the caller being genuine, don't let them in and ask them to come back later when you are not alone.”
If you see suspicious activity in your area please call police in 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Here are some tips on how to keep safe and secure:
· Stop – Are you expecting anyone? Do they have an appointment? Make sure the back door is locked. Some thieves work in pairs with the other one sneaking in the back door whilst you're at the front door.
· Lock – Keep all of your doors and windows locked, even when you're at home.
· Look – Out of the window or spy hole to see who is calling.
· Chain – Put the door bar or chain on before you open the door
· Check the identity carefully – Ask for an ID card. Close the door and check using phone number from the phone book or relevant bill, not the one on the card.
· Bogus callers often work in pairs; be aware of one person distracting you while the other steals your property.
· Never employ trades people who call at your door – only use people recommended by someone you trust. Ideally get a couple of quotes from reputable companies.
· If in doubt keep them out particularly if you're on your own. Ask them to make an appointment or come back later when someone else can be present in the house. Genuine callers won't mind. If you're suspicious then report the incident to the police
· You may help prevent them from burgling someone else.
If you have elderly neighbours or family:
· Have a chat to them about being careful about any visitors they let into their house.
· Offer to give them your telephone number then they can call you if they need any assistance or are unsure about who is at their front door.
· Remind them to put on the door chain and look who the visitor is either out of a window or out of the spy hole in the door.
· Remind them that if they have any unexpected callers they should check their ID.
· Tell them if they have any suspicions about a caller then they should call the police. This could prevent someone else from falling victim to a bogus caller.