A bogus caller targeted the homes of three pensioners before stealing a woman’s purse in Hull.
The man, wearing a high vis top and claiming to be from the council, let himself into a house on Selby Street on Sunday afternoon.
He was challenged by the 62 year-old home-owner and showed an ID card although the details were not checked.
After walking around the bungalow, he asked to see behind the fridge and radiator before leaving. Nothing was stolen.
Humberside Police say that the caller then tried to enter the property next door, but did not get in.
He then approached another property where a 67-year-old woman answered the door, believed his story and let him into the property.
After appearing to take some photos in various rooms the man then left and the woman later discovered her purse had been stolen.
The suspect is described as white, aged 38-42, around 5ft 4in tall, slim build with short blond hair. He was wearing a high visibility top with the word ‘Hodgsons’ written on the back.
PC Andy Allen, Crime Reduction Officer said: “Doorstep crime isn’t common, but it can have a long-lasting impact on victims’ lives with burglaries being committed or exorbitant prices being paid for rudimentary work or inferior goods. So we are urging people not to let unknown callers into their home without first viewing appropriate identification or checking with the organisation they claim to be representing.”
To prevent falling foul of rogue trader he has issued the following advice
• Keep your front and back doors locked at all times, even when at home.
• Never buy at the door and don’t let people you don’t know into your home.
• If you are unsure about whether the person at the door is who they claim to be – for example a council worker – take their name and shut and lock the door while you call their employer to check. Legitimate callers will not mind you doing this.
• When you answer the front door, ensure no rear or side doors and windows have been left insecure. It may be that the caller is trying to distract you while someone else sneaks in.
• If a trader cold calls check whether they are members of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme or the Government Trust Mark scheme.
• If you want work done discuss it with a friend or family member who can help you find a reputable trader
• Don’t agree to any work or sign anything on the spot. Do not be pressured into having any work carried out.
• Never pay cash up front and never go to the bank or cash point with a trader
PC Allen added: “I would appeal to everyone with elderly or vulnerable relatives to take five minutes today and share our advice. By sparing this time you could help keep your loved ones safe and prevent unscrupulous criminals stealing property.”
Anyone who witnessed the incident or can help identify the man is urged to call the police on 101 quoting crime reference number 2231807 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.