Thursday, 31 January 2008

Exmoor distraction burglary pensioner loses cash and jewellery

AN elderly Exmoor woman has had more than £500 of cash and jewellery stolen from her home after a bogus workman lured her outside her front door.
The distraction burglary happened in Bridgetown at about 3.15 pm on Tuesday, January 22, but details have only just been released by the police.
The woman answered a knock at the door by a man who said he had ‘come to sort out the drains’.
She followed him outside, and there was what police described as ‘a cursory examination’ of a drain before the man then left.
When the woman returned to her house, she discovered somebody had stolen cash and jewellery to the value of £550.
Police are appealing for anybody who might have any information about the offence.
To contact PC Jeff Trimmings by calling 0845 4567000 or using the free Crimestoppers number 0800 555 111, where they do not have to leave their name but they could receive a reward.
The Bridgetown incident follows a recent warning by police for home owners to be on the look-out for bogus workmen who may say they are looking to spruce up their home or garden, but could leave them counting the cost.
Police spokesman Dan Mountain said: “Historically, this time of year often sees more reports of bogus workmen and rogue traders as people look to have home improvements and garden landscaping work done before the spring.”
He said in one recent incident in the Bridgwater area, a 92-year-old woman was charged several thousands of pounds for work on her garden, driveway, and roof.
However, the work was never carried out and she was left out of pocket.
Police are expecting many home owners to receive a knock at the door offering such services as weed clearing, hedge trimming, and tree surgery.
The official advice is to always use a reputable, local tradesman when possible, and to talk to friends, family, and neighbours and look for a firm to be recommended by the, while always obtaining three competitive quotes.
Mr Mountain said: “Reputable tradesmen will have no problem in supplying a quote and full contact or billing details - not just a mobile phone number.”
Police also advise home owners to always check photographic ID, to never let anybody into their home whom they are not entirely comfortable with, and not to feel embarrassed if they feel they need to make a telephone call to ensure the caller is who they say they are.

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