Please be aware of the following distraction burglary that took place in the Ruskin Road area of Crewe at approx 12:15pm on Thursday 21/01/2010.
Unknown male offender knocks on front door of premise and states that he is from the council. He proceeds to say that there is a burst pipe in the street and he needs to turn the water off due to it being contaminated. The house occupant took the offender into the kitchen area and whilst he is looking under the sink, a second unknown offender enters the premise without the occupant's knowledge. The second offender goes upstairs and makes a tidy search of the main bedroom and steals a large quantity of cash before exiting the premise separately from the first offender.
The offender that was seen by the occupant was in his 20's with dark hair, he was not wearing a uniform but wore a jacket and trousers and he is reported as having an accent
Please make members aware of this incident and ask them to make their friends and family aware. If anyone has any elderly relatives of neighbours please make them aware as unfortunately elderly people are often the target of these types of crime. With recent new stories in the local paper about the high levels of chlorine in the water some people may be more believing of someone knocking on the door asking to check for contaminated water. If anyone has any elderly relatives please try to encourage them to refrain from storing large quantities of money around their properties. I appreciate that some people are reluctant to use a bank but offenders are well aware of all the common hiding places for money such as under the bed, floorboards, kitchen cupboards and drawers, in or on top of the wardrobe, hidden amongst clothing in drawers, in empty tins and behind dressers/units. In these types of burglaries the second offender can often locate cash and valuables quickly from looking in a few key places.
Many people are quite clued up about door to door sales now and generally follow the message not to buy from the door. However, we still have issues with when individuals knock on a door claiming to be of an official nature such as from the council, from the water board, from a gas company etc. It is often in these cases that someone is persuaded to allow entry to their home generally because they are convinced that there has been some sort of emergency or situation and their utilities need checking. Clearly, people are often concerned about being without utilities, especially in this weather and therefore often trust the individuals and allow them entry. I appreciate that is is a hard message to get across but please try and press the following key messages:
* Always check an individuals ID thoroughly. It is a good idea to take their ID, shut the door on them, go into your property and find a contact number for the company in question and ring to enquire if someone should genuinely be in your area for the reason stated and check the employees details from the ID. Don't feel rude doing this, a genuine company operative should not take offence at this as it causes them as much concern that people misuse their companies name to commit crimes.
* Many utility companies operate a password scheme. It may be worthwhile contacting your providers to see if you can sign up to this. This would mean that anyone knocking on your door who is genuine should be able to provide you with your password (or certainly obtain it from their company).
* If practical you can ask the person to go away and make an official appointment to attend at your property in writing. This allows you the chance to ask someone to be with you at your property during the visit. If the person isn't genuine they are highly unlikely to follow up. If you do receive a letter you have adequate time to double check with the company in question that it is genuine.
* Remember if at any time you are unsure or uncomfortable you do not have to allow entry to your property to anyone. If in any doubt, keep them out.