Bogus callers steal cash and jewellery from elderly Northampton woman after claiming to be from water board

Detectives appeal for information about engraved necklace, said to be of huge sentimental value

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 2:55 pm

Police are keeping an open mind over links between two burglaries by bogus callers claiming to be from the water board.

An elderly woman had cash and jewellery stolen after two men knocked at her door in Rothersthorpe Road, Northampton, last Tuesday (November 9).

Just days earlier two men used the same ruse to rob a pensioner of their £1,200 savings in Wellingborough.

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Police offer advice on keeping bogus callers at bay.

Northamptonshire Police is warning residents, particularly those living alone to be extra wary of answering the door to unnanounced callers and not to let strangers through the door without thoroughly checking they are who they say they are.

Detectives have issued an appeal for anyone who was in the Rothersthorpe Road area at around 5pm on Tuesday, or may have doorbell, CCTV or dashcam footage that captured two people acting suspiciously at around 5pm on the day of the incident.

They are also particularly keen to trace a distinctive necklace which was among the stolen haul and has huge sentimental value to the victim.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: "The necklace is described as a gold chain with a medal pendant, smaller than a one pence coin engraved with either the homeowner’s mother’s name or her initials, EB.

"The pendant is one of four gold medals presented to the homeowner’s mother between 1924 and 1930 for gymnastics and is of great sentimental value to the occupant."

"We would like to hear from anyone who may have been offered the necklace for sale in unusual circumstances. Anyone with information about this burglary is asked to call Northamptonshire Police on 101 using incident number 21000666003."

Bogus callers usually working in teams often use claims to be investigating a gas or water leak, seeking help to leave a note for a neighbour or even asking for a drink of water to trick their way into homes.

Once inside, one crook distracts the homeowner while the other searches for stuff to steal.

Police, utility companies and councils offer a number of tips on how to protect yourself against such distraction burglaries. These include:

• Make sure you can see who is at the door before you answer it. Where possible, fit a spyhole to identify callers or talk to them through an adjacent window

• Don’t feel pressured into opening the door. Don’t feel you are being rude, genuine callers won’t mind

• Don’t let people you don’t know into your home, even if they say they need help. If more than one person is at the door, one may try to keep you talking while the other slips away to see what they can steal

• Set up passwords with your utility companies, genuine callers will need to recite this password to you. Always ask to see an ID card too

• Don’t use telephone numbers on ID cards, if the person isn’t genuine the ID and the telephone number won't be either. Get numbers direct from the phone directory, or make a list of your important numbers and keep them near the phone

• If you’re still not sure that a caller is who they say they are, turn them away. Legitimate companies and callers will not mind