An elderly woman was the victim of a distraction burglary in Elstow and police are asking residents to remain vigilant after the incident in the early hours of Thursday morning, August 21.
The incident happened at 1am when an elderly resident of a property in Bunyan Meads, Elstow
answered a knock at her front door.
A man introduced himself as a police officer and told the 82 year old resident that a suspicious person had been spotted her garden and he needed access to her home to check the area.
When he left the property the victim noticed her handbag, purse and cash had been taken.
The man is described as white, in his late 30s to early 40s with a short back and sides haircut. He wore black trousers and a dark outdoor style jacket.
PC Jonathan Gordon, investigating, said: “This type of criminal will target vulnerable people within our communities and will often work with others to dupe their way in to a victim’s home or distract them whilst others commit the burglary.
“Every care should be taken to keep them out. Making sure you keep an eye on your loved ones and your elderly neighbours is of paramount importance and simple things like keeping doors locked and bolted at all times and always using door security chains can help deter criminals.”
He added: “Keeping an eye on people in your street, noting down registration numbers of unusual vehicles and reporting any suspicious activity quickly to the police can help stop other elderly residents becoming victims.”
“I would also like to urge members of the public to always check the identity of all visitors to their homes. Remember do not let unexpected visitors in to your home at all - no matter how believable their reasons for calling are. Do not open the door until you have checked their identity even if it means asking them to post their information through your letter box and waiting until you have verified their identity.
“If you are unsure contact the police straight away - we will be happy to check anyone’s credentials on your behalf. All police officers, representatives from local councils or utility companies calling at your home will have identification with them and will be happy for residents to contact their organisation to confirm their identity.
“I would also like to remind family, neighbours and carers of the elderly within our communities that they could also play a crucial role in helping the police combat these criminals and protect the elderly by becoming a Nominated Neighbour.
PC Gordon continued: “This type of crime is despicable as those people who commit distraction burglaries target the elderly and vulnerable within our communities. This is why it is important that anyone who has information relating to the identity of the offenders or anyone who has received similar calls to their home or noticed similar chalk marks appearing on the outside of a house owned by a vulnerable person should speak to the police and together we can stop this kind of crime and protect our communities.”
If you suspect a bogus caller is at your door call the police immediately.
Anyone with information about this crime can contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on 101 or text information to 07786 200011.
Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, 0800 555 111.