Cold-calling bogus tradesman targeting the elderly

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Residents are being urged to be vigilant following concerns cold callers and bogus tradesman are preying on vulnerable residents in the district.

Wakefield District Police are advising residents to be on their guard following reports of making unsolicited approaches to elderly residents and some victims being burgled in distraction burglaries.

Officers have recorded offences in Castleford, South Hiendley, Pontefract, Wakefield and South Elmsall in which males have either cold called and then overcharged residents for gardening work, or pretended to be tradesmen and then burgled properties.

Recent offences include a burglary in South Elmsall on January 9 in which three men attended at house and told the elderly female resident they had been sent to check double glazing. While there they broke in and searched a bedroom.

In another incident on January 16 two men knocked on the door of an elderly resident on Wakefield’s Peacock Estate and asked if she needed odd jobs doing.

The victim declined but agreed to give one of the men a glass of water. She later found the men had been able to steal her handbag and property when she wasn’t looking.

Insp Helen Brear of Wakefield Neighbourhoods, West: “We are aware of several reports of males targeting elderly and vulnerable residents and offering to carry out odd jobs for them or using this excuse to gain entry to burgle their homes.

“We believe some of these offences are not necessarily linked but there has been a clear pattern of offending targeting people who are vulnerable in our communities.

“On occasions were work has actually been carried out this work has either not been necessary or grossly overpriced, very much amounting to fraud.”

Detective Inspector Dan Tillett of Wakefield CID, said: said: “I would always remind residents that they are under no obligation whatsoever to agree to accept services provided by someone who cold calls at their property and should not let a person into their home if they have any doubts about them.

“A number of enquiries are on-going into these recent incidents and we would ask residents who have elderly relatives who they think may be vulnerable to these kind of frauds to check on them.

“I would ask anyone who may have information about bogus workmen operating in communities to contact Wakefield CID on 101.

“Information can also be given anonymously to the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.”