Distraction burglar poses as police officer
Police are appealing for witnesses and warning residents of Witney to be on their guard after a woman in her eighties was targeted by a distraction burglar who pretended to be a police officer.
At 6pm on Monday 17 November, a man called at the woman’s house in Moorland Road claiming to be a police officer and telling her she had been burgled. She allowed him in the house and she showed him around at his request. He has then asked her to show him where she keeps her money.
Once the man left the woman she found her pension money of £100 had been stolen. She never left him alone which leads detectives to believe another person entered the property unseen and has taken the money from the cabinet.
The man is white, aged around 30 years old and is short at between 5ft and 5ft 6ins. He was wearing a baseball cap, a green top and beige combat trousers.
Det Sgt Craig Kirby of Witney priority crime team said: “Any distraction burglary is a disgraceful crime because they target the elderly and vulnerable in our communities. But to pretend to be a police officer and prey on the public’s trust in this way is despicable.
“If anyone recognises this man – perhaps he called at your house – then please contact us straight away. We would also like to hear from anyone who has had any kind of suspicious caller at their home.
“Along with our partners, such as West Oxfordshire District Council and Trading Standards, we have done a lot to raise awareness of distraction burglars and rogue traders, which are often linked.
“I would like to take this opportunity to remind local people of the steps they can take against these criminals and it important that the relatives, friends and carers of the elderly make sure they are aware of this advice.
- Always check the identification of any tradesman or unknown caller at your home – including anyone claiming to be a police officer.
- If they do not have an appointment, do not let them into your house. Tell them to make an appointment. If they say there is an emergency, check with the police.
- If the person is expected, put the chain on and then check ID if you are able to do that. If you do not have a chain, ask for ID to be put through the letterbox. The card will have the company name, the callers/employers name together with their picture. If you are in any doubt about their authenticity they will also have a telephone number which you may call to confirm their identity. If they are a genuine company employee then they will be only too happy to come back later once you have made the call or even make an appointment to return at a later date.
- If you believe someone is a rogue trader or bogus caller please call 999 and alert us immediately.”
If you wish to get further advice, please contact our crime reduction advisers via the Police Enquiry Centre on 0854 8 505 505. If you have any information about bogus callers or rogue traders operating in the Oxfordshire area, contact the police on the same number or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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