Police warning after doorstep conmen prey on elderly in Malmesbury area
Doorstep conmen pretending to be policemen and securty company workers tricked their way into four homes and stole cash and jewellery from pensioners.
Police are warning people to be on their guard after the thefts.
Officers believe the same thieves were responsible for the thefts at homes in Anthony Close in Sherston, Green Close in Hullavington and Dauntsey Road in Great Somerford on February 26.
Two men in back woolly hats and scarves covering their faces called at anaddress in Anthony Close, Sherston claiming to be from a security company.
They told the elderly man at the door they had caught a burglar and needed to get into his house to check nothing had been stolen. When the men left the man found £200 had been stolen.
Around the same time a female neighbour heard a noise in her home while she was watching television but thought nothing of it. The following day she noticed her bedroom window was open and discovered £400 cash was missing from a purse in the room.
At around 8.20pm in Dauntsey Lane, Great Somerford, an elderly woman discovered aman in her home.
He claimed to be policeman and said a neighbour had been burgled before fleeing and walking off towards the crossroads junction with West Street. The occupant later found two gold rings had been stolen.
At 9pm at Green Close, Hullavington, an elderly man disturbed an intruder after hearing a banging noise. The man escorted the intruder out of the house before anything was stolen.
Detective Constable Anthony King said: “Bogus callers often target the elderly and the most vulnerable members of our society.
“I would urge residents not to open their doors unless they are expecting a visitor and not to let anyone into their properties.
“It is really important to ensure windows and doors are locked particularly in rooms that are not regularly used.”
He said by sticking to police advice homeowners can reduce the chances of becoming a victim.
Always keep your door shut and locked.
If someone comes to your door and you aren’t expecting a caller it is important that you check who it is by using a spy-hole or look through a window. Do not open the door to anyone you don’t know or are not expecting.
Official visitors will always arrange an appointment with you beforehand – if no appointment has been made, don’t open the door.
Do not keep large amounts of cash at home – it is much safer in a bank or building society.
Always keep purses and wallets hidden away, out of sight.
Never keep pin numbers with credit or debit cards.
Never agree to have work carried out by someone who is just passing, or believe such people when they claim that repairs need to be made. If you think work might need to be done get quotes from three companies and ask friends and neighbours for recommendations.
If you see anything suspicious or think a bogus caller may have called at your door, report it to police immediately by calling 999.
Anyone with information on any of the thefts can contact Detective Constable Kev Golledge at Melksham Police Station on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.