Police in Telford Support Rogue Trader Month
In support of Rogue Trader Month - which begins on Monday 18th May - West Mercia Police officers based in Telford are reminding local people about the need to keep their wits about them to foil any potential distraction burglars that visit the Borough.
Distraction and doorstep crimes make up a small proportion of the burglaries that take place in the West Mercia force area. However, when one of these crimes is committed it often has devastating consequences for the victims, who are most likely to be elderly or vulnerable.
The force's ‘Knock Knock' campaign calls on everyone to help tackle these distressing crimes and offers crime prevention advice to advise people about what they can do to make their lives more secure.
The campaign continues to be supported by Local Policing Teams and Crime Risk managers, who work with partner agencies, Partners and Communities Together (PACT) and Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinators to make people more aware about distraction burglary and hopefully prevent it happening to them.
Offenders often select homes that obviously belong to older people, such as sheltered housing complexes or warden controlled homes. With that in mind police officers, in conjunction with the Trading Standards Department from Telford & Wrekin Council, will be working with other partner agencies over the next month to hand out advice and information to local residents as part of their work supporting this initiative.
Detective Inspector Pete Brophy from the Intelligence Unit based at Malinsgate Police Station said:
"The force is working hard to raise awareness about the security measures people should take before they let anyone into their home or ask them to do maintenance work and has produced a crime prevention leaflet, which gives people more advice about what they can do to keep themselves safe.
"Our advice is that people should not be afraid to ask callers for identification and check with the company concerned if they are not convinced the caller is genuine. If you are in any doubt don't let them into your home. A legitimate caller will not mind waiting outside while you check their identification out properly.
"Distraction burglaries take place during daylight hours, in front of the community. The criminals who commit these crimes target the elderly and more vulnerable members of our communities. They work in teams so that one person can engage the victim in conversation, while the other person or people search the victim's home for money and other valuables.
"We are asking communities to help us arrest these criminals by reporting any unfamiliar people they see knocking on doors and any cars that are parked for long periods of time in their local area. Take a note of the vehicle registration numbers and descriptions of the people and then call the police on 0300 333 3000. A call to the police could provide a piece of vital information that enables us to bring those responsible for these cruel offences to justice.
"If the police and the community work together and look after our vulnerable neighbours we can reduce the number of victims who are affected by this dreadful crime."
Research shows that fewer distraction burglaries are committed in areas where there are visible and subtle signs of a caring and supportive community. You can help by:
- Keeping an eye on people calling in the area or acting suspiciously
- Noting the registration numbers of vehicles parked in your area for a period of time
- Encouraging vulnerable people to check a caller's identity carefully and to keep their door on a chain. If they have any doubt about the caller's integrity they should not let them into their home
- Call on vulnerable people on a regular basis. If it is not too much trouble, help them keep their front garden tidy and find reliable tradespeople for any maintenance work that really does need to be undertaken
- Calling 0300 333 3000 to provide information to the police about suspicious people, activity or vehicles however insignificant it may seem
- If a distraction burglary has taken place or been attempted, encourage the victim to report it as quickly as possible
For further information about preventing distraction burglaries and other crime prevention advice please visit our online Advice Centre.