If in doubt, dial 999

Since the recent floods the Police have seen a rise in reports of offenders going door-to-door posing as ‘water board’ employees to try and trick their way into homes.

Dial 999 if suspicious callers turn up at their front door – particularly if they claim to work for the ‘water board’.

Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Brookes, said:

Be suspicious of anyone who comes to your door without a prior appointment, particularly if the person claims to work for, or on behalf of, Severn Trent or the ‘water board’. We have had several cases where offenders have used this cover story to trick householders into fiddling with pipes and taps claiming a water related emergency, allowing time for an accomplice to enter their address unseen via another entrance.

He added:

We want to put a stop to this kind of crime. Check the identity card of all cold callers and ring the company the caller claims to represent in order to check their credentials. If you are still suspicious ring the police on 999. We would much rather be called to an address quickly and find that the person on the doorstep is perfectly legitimate, than try and pick up the pieces after a burglary has taken place.

The advice is:

  • Always put the chain on before answering the door.
  • Don’t just check a caller’s ID, it is often difficult to tell what is a genuine ID card and what isn’t. Close the front door whilst you examine the ID and phone the company the caller claims to represent. If the caller is genuine they will not mind waiting.
  • If you are still not sure call on a neighbour for assistance or call the police on 999.
  • If you suspect the caller isn’t genuine try to get as many details as possible about them. Get a good description of their appearance and clothing as well as the vehicle they are travelling in, including the registration number. Call police with all of these details – it may prevent a neighbour from becoming a victim.
  • Never spend any length of time at your front door talking with a caller without first checking that all other entrances to your home are secure. A typical trick is to keep occupants talking at the front of the house while an accomplice enters the property via a rear door or window.

Please pass this advice on to elderly neighbours and relatives.

Anyone with information about distraction burglary is asked to call Gloucestershire police on 08945 090 1234, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Further advice is available from ;

Gloucestershire Trading Standards 08454 040506
Age Concern 01452 422660
Severn Trent Water 0800 783 4444.


1 Response to “If in doubt, dial 999”

  1. 1 Toni 2 August 2007 at 2:13 pm

    The emergency planning welfare team has received a report today that a possible bogus caller on Sunday was saying they needed to check the toilet system and flushing. We’ve checked with Severn Trent and any of their people would be checking taps, not toilets and would be wearing uniform and have ID.

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