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Four homes fall victim to distraction burglaries

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5:56am 14th September 2017

Four elderly households in West Norfolk have become victims of distraction burglaries.

That's when a burglar turns up on the doorstep pretending to be an official or salesman to get into a house.

There has been a series over the last few weeks, including in Outwell, Downham Market and Watlington.

What happened?

  • On Tuesday 30 August, a man and a woman cold called at a property on Wisbech Road in Outwell, offering cleaning at a discounted rate. They returned the next day to carry out the work and after the individuals left the property, the owners discovered that jewellery had been taken, including necklaces, an eternity ring, gold chains and an Omega watch with a black leather strap.
  • A further incident occurred on Friday 8 September at a property on London Road in Downham Market, where a woman called at a home offering cleaning free of charge. When the woman left the property the owner found a Tag Heuer watch and a ring missing.
  • On Tuesday 12 September at some point between 10 am and 10.30am, a woman offering a free hour's cleaning for the over 70s cold called at a property in Mill Road in Watlington and stole cash.
  • On the same morning, a woman offering cleaning services cold called at a property on Stow Road in Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen, and stole cash, cheques and jewellery.

Police are looking into the possibility that the incidents are linked and would like to hear from anyone who may information to assist the investigation.

Description

One of the offenders is described as a woman aged between 30-35 years of age, of large build, 5 feet 4 inches tall, with brown hair pulled back into a pony tail, wearing make-up and with a clean and presentable appearance.

Police would like to offer the following advice to residents:

LOCK

  • Always keep your house secure, even when you are at home. 
  • Keep doors locked and windows shut, especially if you are not in the room. 
  • Make sure your back garden is secure too by keeping the back gate locked. 

STOP

  • If someone knocks at the door, stop and think if you are expecting a visitor. If not, do not feel under any obligation to answer the door, even if the caller has seen you. 

CHAIN

  • Always put the chain on the door before you answer it, even if you are expecting a caller. It gives you more control over the conversation and also makes it much harder for someone to force their way in. It is fine to say something like 'Thank you for letting me know. I will contact my builder right away' and then shut and lock the door. 

CHECK

  • Always ask for a photo identification card and take your time to check it, even if you are expecting the caller. 
  • Make sure the photograph looks like the person at the door. 
  • Take your time to call the company using a phone number you already have. A genuine caller won't mind waiting. 
  • You can always ask them to come back at an arranged time when you can have a friend or relative with you. 
  • Never buy or sell anything at your door. 

NOT SURE? DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!

  • Remember, if you are not sure about the caller, do not open the door and do call police on 101 (or 999 in an emergency) if you are concerned for your safety. 
  • If you think the caller is suspicious and may target someone else vulnerable in the neighbourhood, please call police immediately on 999 and give as much detail as you can about the person, the clothing they were wearing, details of any vehicle etc.

Anyone with any information should contact DC Emma Cross at King's Lynn CID on 101 quoting 36/64983/17.

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