Warning from police after conmen target homes in Wellingborough

Police have issued a warning after cold callers claiming to be from the water board tried to trick their way into two homes in Wellingborough on Wednesday.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 2:58 pm
Updated Friday, 20th May 2016, 5:00 pm
Police have issued the warning after two distraction burglaries in Wellingborough

The first incident happened at about 10.45am in Thomas Street when two men called at a house and said they needed to check the water supply.

After being let in, one man went to the kitchen while another said he needed to check the bathroom.

After they had gone, the householder found drawers had been searched and a gold chain was missing.

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The second incident happened shortly after 11am when a man called at a house in Lowick Close and said he needed to go in and turn the water off because of a leak next door.

On this occasion the homeowner was suspicious and called their neighbour to check, at which point the man walked away.

Detective Inspector Wayne Preece is urging people not to open the door to unexpected callers and to be suspicious of anyone saying they are to be from the water board.

He said: “Claiming to be from the water board or saying they need to come in to check for leaks is a common con used by distraction burglars to try and gain entry to someone’s home.

“Water boards haven’t existed for years so this should rouse suspicions straight away.

“Our advice is not to open the door to anyone you’re not expecting.

“Talk to them through a window if you need to but don’t feel pressured into opening the door – you’re not being rude and genuine callers will understand.

“Keep the back door locked too so no-one can sneak in while you’re talking to someone at the front door.

“Over the past few months, offences have happened in all parts of the county, with the offenders mostly targeting the elderly or vulnerable, so please share this advice with friends, family and neighbours.

“If they are suspicious of any caller, they can call police on 101 or, if they feel at all threatened, they should call 999.

“We’re also appealing for information following these incidents and anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously or noticed anything out of the ordinary is asked to contact Northamptonshire Police on 101.”

Anglian Water is also working with the force to help tackle bogus callers and is encouraging people to sign up to its WaterCare scheme.

Carys Jones from Anglian Water said: “WaterCare offers a number of services to people who may need a bit more support, including password protection on their account.

“So if they do ever get a knock at the door with someone claiming to be from the ‘water board’, the person calling will need to provide the password the customer has set up through the scheme.

“We want all of our customers to feel safe in their own home which is why it’s important they know what to expect from a real Anglian Water employee.

“If a customer has any doubts or can’t remember making an appointment then it’s best to say no and close the door – a genuine employee will be happy to come back at a different time or wait while you check they are who they say they are.

“All of our employees carry identification and will happily hand it to you while you check it.

“Calling our Freephone number 03457 145 145 at any time of day will put you through to a member of our team who’ll be able to describe the person to you and confirm they are a genuine employee.”

“If you know anyone who might be vulnerable to distraction burglary, encourage them to sign up for our WaterCare scheme by visiting our website at www.anglianwater.co.uk.”