Prolific Conman Targeting Churches

PHDefence, a local martial arts class I teach at, is held at a chapel. While I was there, I saw this notice and thought I should do what I can do share it. Knowledge is power! Now, this may not seem particularly relevant to self-protection or personal security, but it is. Dialogue, deception and distraction are three major factors that a criminal often utilises in the ‘interview’ stage of selecting a victim for a violent attack so maintaining awareness of these kinds of methods is crucial.

Just click either of the images to display it larger. Note: I’m not saying conclusively.that this is true or anything of the sort. I’m just sharing what I’ve seen.

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‘Beware of Bogus Callers’–Staffs Police Update

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Today, Staffs Police issued this warning following a recent incident. In addition to the police’s advice, always remember that you can call the company they profess to represent, and check their ID that they should provide before taking the chain off or even opening the door – this includes police officers and community workers! If you’re not confident in your ability to check their ID yourself (would you really know if it was fake?) then just call their company – they shouldn’t mind at all. If they do, then they’re either dodgy or unprofessional, and in either case you don’t really want them in your house, whether they’re doing work for you or not! Stay vigilant!

It is believed two men were working together and used a water-related rouse to trick their way into the home of an elderly lady. It is not known if the offenders had access to a vehicle.

At approximately 6pm one of the men called at the home of the 91-year-old and claimed to be in the area ‘doing the drains’. He entered the house and asked her to run the tap and flush the toilet to make sure the water was running clear.

Whilst the lady was distracted it is believed the second man has entered the house and stole a small amount of cash and documents.

Descriptions of the men follow:

The second man was not seen but the first is described as white, aged 40 to 50, with dark brown hair worn in a side parting. He was approximately 6ft and well built. He was softly spoken and polite. He wore dark casual clothing and did not have any identification.

Investigations are underway, and ‘officers want to speak to anyone with information, or who saw suspicious persons and/or vehicles in the area prior to the incident. Residents are encouraged to contact police if and every time they have suspicions about any caller at their door. Even if someone claims to be an official – and that includes police officers and council representatives – people must get their ID checked out.’

The police have also issued the following advice:

  • Never trust anyone calling at the door without a prior appointment. Should you receive such a call leave the door locked. The caller will hear you through the door when you ask them who they are. If they state they are from a utilities company ask for your account number, they should have this, if not, do not let them in and tell them to leave, and that you are calling the Police.
  • Always ask for ID, and check it.
  • Do not allow anyone to carry work out on your home, or sell you anything when they cold call at the door. If you do require work to be done, INSTIGATE IT YOURSELF, by phoning three companies asking for like for like quotes. Then decide.
  • Do not keep large amounts of cash in your home, you may think that you have the perfect hiding place, but these criminals will find it.
  • Please remember there is no such company as the Water Board, Gas Board or Electric Board. These words are only used by offenders.
  • Always report any suspicious behaviour to the police, if you think it is suspicious, it probably is.
  • Keep your doors locked even when you are home.

Residents should also follow the stop, chain and check rule when people call at the door:

  • STOP – If you are not expecting anybody and they don’t have an appointment – don’t let them in
  • CHAIN – Use your door chain or bar before opening the door
  • CHECK – Ask to see ID and double check this.

People can also use the Nominate a Neighbour (NAN) scheme which diverts cold callers to a neighbour who will check caller’s identity. NAN packs are available from local police stations.

Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to contact Dc Colin Rushton at Staffordshire Police on 0300 123 44 55 quoting incident 700 of 19 September, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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