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Local police take action to protect vulnerable residents from callous cold callers

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Police are conducting extra patrols and visiting vulnerable residents to protect Selby communities against bogus callers and rogue traders.

The action follows a series of suspicious cold-calling incidents in the district, in which elderly and vulnerable residents have been callously targeted.

Officers are also urging residents to do their bit by making friends, family and neighbours aware of the dangers.

At about 2pm on Tuesday 22 January 2019, a man attended a property in Eggborough, claiming to be a roofing contractor needing to work on the guttering.

He asked for £70 up front, and when told by the victim that they only had £20, he took it and said his workers would be back in ten minutes. However, no one returned, and the resident contacted the police.

The suspect arrived in a beige-coloured vehicle, with a female passenger who remained in the vehicle. He is described as about 30 years old, 5ft 6ins, of slim build, with black curly hair and possibly a Welsh accent. Anyone who recognises the description, or has information about this incident, should contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting reference 12190013291.

Neighbourhood Policing officers have visited the victim to check on her welfare, and add extra security measures to her home.

On Friday 25 January, at around 12.30pm, a resident in Tadcaster, contacted police to state that a possible bogus gardener had attended their property requesting them to open the door. The man stated he was there to weed the garden, but the resident refused to open the door even though the caller was persistent.

At 10am on Wednesday 30 January, a resident in Tadcaster had an unexpected visit from a man claiming to be from an energy provider. He asked to have a look in the garage and left shortly after. The resident contacted the company and that stated they hadn’t sent anyone out today.

Those incidents follow an incident in which a ‘bogus police officer’ conned his way into an elderly couple’s home in Tadcaster on Friday 18 January. The investigation into that incident is ongoing, and the victims have been re-visited a number of times by Neighbourhood Policing officers to reassure them and provide crime prevention advice.

Due to the increased reports of cold calling and suspicious activity in the area we are urging members of public to be vigilant and if you have uncertainty about the legitimacy of a worker please contact the company direct to confirm their identity.

On Tuesday 5 February, officers from Tadcaster Neighbourhood Policing Team, together with Trading Standards and Selby District Council staff held a well-attended drop in surgery at the Calcaria Community Centre to provide ‘cold caller’ crime prevention advice.

Inspector Martin Wedgwood, of Selby Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “Distraction burglars and bogus callers take advantage of people’s trust in a callous way, and trick them out of money or steal from them. The impact that these criminals can have on their victims is devastating.

“Officers and PCSOs across the district have been conducting high-visibility patrols, providing crime prevention advice, and ensuring victims are safeguarded.

“I’m also appealing directly to people with older or vulnerable friends, relative or neighbours, to help us by making sure they understand the dangers of cold callers.

“The message is simple – if you’re not sure who is at your door, don’t open it.  Instead, call a neighbour or friend to come along and check them out. Don’t let cold callers pressure or confuse you. A genuine caller will happily wait outside while you check on them by calling their organisation or a friend or neighbour.”

A distraction burglar is defined as someone who gains access to your property by distracting or tricking their way in to steal cash or valuables.

Rogue traders are criminals who take advantage of householders by using high pressure sales techniques.  The work is often sub-standard or not required at all.

For more information about distraction burglary and rogue trading – including case studies, videos and crime prevention advice which you can share with friends and family – visit the North Yorkshire Police website at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/boguscallers

People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any doorstep offender or rogue trader should ring North Yorkshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers, the national charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Last modified: February 11, 2019