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Hertfordshire County Council warns residents about risks of distraction burglaries this winter
Police are warning members of the public not to open the door to unknown callers at a time of year when the risk of being victim of a distraction burglary is on the increase.
Elderly and vulnerable people often suffer this type of burglary, when bogus callers use an excuse to occupy the householder’s attention while they or an accomplice steals money or other valuables.
Thanks to a dedicated team, Operation Manhunt, there has been a 64 per cent decrease in distraction burglaries since April, with 31 fewer cases compared to the same period last year.
However, Hertfordshire Constabulary is warning members of the public not to be complacent.
Detective Inspector Kay Lancaster said: “Now the nights are drawing in, particularly with the clocks changing, and the weather getting colder, these criminals will tend to use the ‘frozen or burst water pipes’ method to get into a home to steal.”
In these cases, the bogus caller would pretend to be someone sent to investigate frozen or leaking pipes in the victim’s house.
They can also pretend to be policemen, people reading the meter or looking for a lost pet.
DI Lancaster added: “These people will target the elderly, who sadly are more trusting and easily convinced.
“We would always urge people to share the advice with their elderly, relatives, friends or neighbours not to open the door to anyone who they are not expecting.
“And most importantly, keep an eye out for anyone hanging around your elderly neighbour’s property and if you don’t recognise them and are concerned, call police by dialling 999, so we can attend and investigate.”