RESIDENTS are being advised to be extra vigilant following two distraction offences in west Surrey yesterday (Thursday, 26 January) in which suspects have claimed to be police officers.
In Lightwater, an 86-year-old woman opened her front door to two men, one of whom said he was a policeman and had two boys in his car who he believed had been in the householder’s garden having stolen money. The resident allowed the uninvited callers inside and went to go upstairs to check if anything was stolen, before realising she had no cash in the house. The intruders left without taking anything. The incident happened sometime between 5.55pm and 6.50pm.
The suspects are described as two white men. The first is described as 5ft 9” tall, in his late thirties and of a medium build, with short dark brown hair. He was wearing a navy blue suite, navy blue duffle style jacket and a shirt and tie.
The second suspect is described as 5ft 6” tall, of a similar age to the first suspect and of a dumpy build. He had dark hair and was wearing similar style clothing to his colleague.
In a second incident in the Sheerwater area of Woking, three men gained entry into a property where the resident had been asleep at around 8.50pm. The householder was disturbed and got up to find one man in the doorway and asked what he was doing there. The suspect said he was a police officer and produced what appeared to be a warrant card.
He told the 56-year-old resident that they had found a homeless boy climbing through the window and the victim was required at the police station for interview. A second man, also impersonating a police officer, pretended to detain a young man.
The victim refused to go with the suspects and said he was going to call the police instead. The offenders then said they had the wrong man and left the property empty handed via the front door.
The first suspect who spoke to the resident is described as being in his mid thirties, around 5ft 8” tall and of a medium build with a big nose. He spoke with what is described as an Albanian accent and was wearing a dark winter jacket with a dark baseball cap.
The second suspect is described as being a man, between 5ft 4” and 5ft 6” tall. The third man is described as being white, 6ft tall, between 18 and 20-years-old and of a slim build. He was clean shaven with a clear fresh complexion. He was wearing a snood style face covering, similar to that worn by a motorcyclist.
Surrey Police is appealing for anyone who may recognise the descriptions of these offenders or who may have seen the suspects acting suspiciously in the vicinity around the time of the incidents, to contact officers as soon a possible.
Surrey Police recommends that if a resident is in any doubt as to the identity of a caller and posing as a police officer that they do not open the door, they ask for the officer’s identity number and that they call 101 to verify that the person is genuine.
Detective Inspector Andy Haslam said: “These are cruel and cowardly crimes which prey on the more vulnerable in our communities and we are advising residents to stay vigilant. Neighbours of elderly homeowners can help by making them aware of the potential pitfalls and keeping an eye out for suspicious people around their properties.
“Under no circumstances should you let an unexpected visitor into your home. Always stop to think whether you are expecting any callers, use the chain if you do decide to answer the door and check for identification before letting anyone in. Don’t be taken in by these con artists, however convincing their story may sound.
“Similarly it is imperative that all residents remain vigilant about home security and ensure that windows and doors are securely locked. If you are in need of crime prevention advice please contact your Safer Neighbourhood Team and speak to the Crime Reduction Advisor.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference Sh/12/337 or WK/12/539.GD/10/2113. Alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously and free of charge on 0800 555 111.
The following security tips are recommended by Surrey Police:
• Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times. Use spy holes to see the caller and if you do open the door, use a door chain if you have one.
• If you do let somebody in to your home, close the door behind them – distraction burglars often work in teams, where one will distract you whilst others sneak in through the insecure door.
• Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home; put it in the bank where it is safe.
• If you suspect a bogus caller is at your door call the police
http://www.surrey.police.uk/home.asp for further details