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People warned to be vigilant about distraction burglaries

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People are being warned to be on their guard following a spate of distraction burglaries across Dudley borough in recent weeks.

Dudley Council’s trading standards have been made aware of a number of cases where elderly people have been targeted by bogus callers.

There have been seven cases in the past four weeks including targeting properties in Dudley, Halesowen and Netherton.

Criminals use all kinds of excuses to gain entry into people’s properties, such as either claiming to be from the water board, which no longer exists or pretending to offer gardening services. In a lot of cases, it’s the most vulnerable people in communities who are targeted, including the elderly and vulnerable.

Dudley’s trading standards are now urging people to be vigilant in a bid to protect vulnerable residents.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said:

We don’t want to cause alarm but do want to warn residents to be on their guard against this type of crime.
These criminals have no shame and will do their very best to convince someone they are genuine. It’s shocking that our most vulnerable residents are being targeted and I would stress to our older residents in particular, that in those cases where people are claiming to be from the water board, it is highly likely they are a bogus caller, as the water board no longer exits.
Please do not let people into your home unless you are 100 percent sure you know who they are. People who are genuine will in most cases call ahead to book an appointment first and will carry ID with them.
I’d also urge people to keep an eye on neighbours who are elderly or vulnerable and report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

Gareth Guest, local partnerships officer, said:

As we've seen in these particular incidents, bogus callers are posing to be from the water board in order to gain access to homes and valuables.
The first thing to remember is that the water board no longer exists and that it is highly unlikely that a genuine water company will turn up on your door and ask for access to your property, without prior appointment
If anyone attends your property as a cold caller, from any organisation, ask to see their identification. Our advice is to contact the company or the bogus caller hotline to check they’re genuine. Do not allow anyone into your property, unless you’re sure they are who they claim to be.
If you are not expecting anyone and have not invited them, you do not have to let them in.

People can report these crimes by calling 999 or the dedicated bogus caller hotline on 01384 812045.

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