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Advice on doorstep crime following two arrests

Thursday, May 14, 2020

We are offering advice on doorstep crime following two arrests in connection with a burglary at an elderly woman’s home in Blackburn.

The incident took place on Balmoral Crescent on May 11th when a man went to an address offering to carry out gardening work.

The man entered the property without the owner’s permission and stole approximately £600 in cash from the victim.

Two 30-year-old men from Blackburn were arrested yesterday (May 13th) after police officers sighted a vehicle on Whitebirk Road matching the description of a vehicle wanted in connection with the incident.

The men have since been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

DI Mel Kelly, of Lancashire Police said: “These crimes target some of our most vulnerable members of society and we take reports of them very seriously. We would like to remind the public, to never open your door to someone you don’t know or aren’t expecting. We would also like to appeal to relatives and neighbours of vulnerable people to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.”

Police have advice so people can try to protect themselves:

STOP - Before you answer the door, stop and think if you are expecting anyone. Make sure your back door and any other doors leading outside are locked before you go to the front door. If you feel uncomfortable don’t answer the door and lock it.

CHAIN – Only open the door with the chain or door bar in place. These act as a barrier when talking to unexpected callers. Talk through a window if you can.

CHECK - Always ask for ID. Genuine callers will always have identification. If you are still uncertain, phone the organisation and confirm the person’s identity. Genuine callers will be happy to wait.

How to protect yourself from doorstep crime:

• Never agree to have any work done as a result of a cold call. Don't make snap decisions, take your time and don't be pressurised into having the job done.
• If you think work needs doing to your home, get written quotes from two or three traders, detailing the work to be done and a final price. Never rely solely on a mobile phone number.
• Ask friends and relatives to recommend a reputable business.
• Only pay in full once the work is completed to your satisfaction. You may be asked to pay money up front for trader's materials, ensure this only covers the cost of those materials never pay the full amount in advance.
• Check the identity of all callers to your home. Ask for photo identification even if the caller claims to be from a utility company, the police or local authority. Check it carefully with the telephone number in the phone book, not the number on the ID. All genuine officials are issued with identification that they carry with them. If you are worried, do not answer the door.
•  Do not keep large amounts of money in your home no matter how well you think it is hidden. Volunteering to pay in cash may be an indication that you may have more cash on the premises.
• If you are asked to withdraw money from your bank, chat this through with the clerk at the bank. They can advise you if they have concerns.

The Safe Trader Scheme aims to help people in Lancashire find traders for property repairs, home improvements and domestic services such as cleaning and laundry. Traders have to pay £99 +VAT to become part of the scheme.
Home Improvement Agencies in Lancashire provide impartial help, advice and support on all aspects of home improvements, adaptations, repairs and maintenance works to your homes.

Neighbourhood Watch schemes are also proven to reduce burglary and deter bogus callers. Sign up to In The Know our free local messaging scheme or to join your local watch scheme.

For more information on how to keep yourself and your property safe please visit http://orlo.uk/UP55b or if a crime is in progress call 999.

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