Residents are being warned to be vigilant after elderly people were targeted by distraction burglars in Poole and East Dorset.
There were three separate incidents in Poole, Broadstone and Ferndown on Monday 6 October 2014.
* At 1.34pm a man visited an elderly woman at her home in Emerson Road in Poole and told her that he had noticed that her gutter was leaking last week and had returned to fix it. He was described as tall, of large build, in his thirties, with a long nose and very dark hair. He was wearing a tank top and shorts and left the house in a red Nissan Micra.
* At 4.13pm on Whitby Avenue in Broadstone, two men told a pensioner that there was a problem with her chimney. The victim allowed the younger of the two men to inspect the chimney and he removed a brick which he stated would cause a leak. The men informed her that they could seal the chimney for £500 but to repair the damage it would cost £1500. When the victim explained that she was unable to pay these costs the men suggested that she take out a loan for the works. The older man was believed to be in his fifties or sixties and wore a cap, the younger man was described as in his thirties and had medium brown hair. He wore jeans and a yellow T-shirt.
* At 6.37pm in Ashurst Road in Ferndown, there was a similar incident, in which an older man and a younger man came to the property of an elderly woman. It is unclear what the intentions were of these two unknown men, although nothing was taken and no offences were committed.
PS Adrian Thompson, of Poole police, said: “Thankfully nothing was taken and no money exchanged in these three incidents. It is unclear if they are linked at this stage. I am keen to speak with anyone who has information about these incidents or recognises the men described.
“I would also like to hear from anyone who has experienced similar offers of work in the Poole, Broadstone and Ferndown areas.
There were also three attempted distraction burglaries in East Dorset on Friday 26 September 2014 and in each case the offenders pretended to inspect the roofs and reported fake damage before trying to get the victims to part with a substantial amount of money.
* Between 10am and 12.30pm in Laburnum Close, Verwood, a man came to the house of an 87-year-old woman and told her that a tile had come loose and offered to fix it for five pounds. Another two men then climbed onto the roof and informed the victim that her chimney was falling down and advised that she needed to pay them £3000 to fix it. They then drove her to the bank in their white van to withdraw the money. While in the bank the victim was delayed by a long queue and when she came out the van and the men had gone.
* At approximately 10.45am, two men touted for roofing work in the St Leonards area. The informant in this case was suspicious and reported the incident to the police. A search of the area was conducted but unfortunately the men were not found.
* Between 1-2.40pm three men went to the home of a pensioner on Dudsbury Avenue in Ferndown and climbed onto his roof uninvited. They told him that the roof needed repairs that would cost £7000 and drove him to Bournemouth to withdraw the money. They instructed the victim to tell the bank that the money was to be used to purchase a car and not for building work. Thankfully, a member of staff at the bank became suspicious and did not allow the withdrawal to take place.
DC Steph Ashworth, of Bournemouth CID, said: “All the offences involved at least three men driving a white van and I believe they are all connected. I appeal to anyone who may have any information that can assist with this investigation or identify the offenders to come forward.”
One man is described as white, in his thirties, with dark short hair and of slim build. He was wearing a dark coloured pullover and dark trousers. The second man was also described as white, in his thirties and of medium build. He wore dark coloured clothes and mumbled when he spoke.
“The third man has only been described as ‘dark brown’,” she said.
PS Adrian Thompson added: “I advise members of the community to be vigilant and encourage them to observe the following advice:
- Do not buy, sell or sign up to any work on the doorstep no matter how urgent the caller tells you the work is
- Keep the door chained when speaking with strangers
- If you think you may need repairs done to your property, get at least two written quotes.
“Poole Trading Standards also offer a trusted scheme called ‘Buy with Confidence’ which we would recommend residents use. This scheme lists traders who have been checked and approved by trading standards.
“If you are suspicious of a caller’s intentions, tell them to go away and call a family member or neighbour and inform the police on 101. If they won’t leave, then call 999.”
Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 101, quoting incident number 09:225. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.