‘Take steps to stay clear of bogus callers’

Police in the North-east are warning people to be on their guard ahead of an anticipated rise in doorstep crime come spring time.

Reports of such incidents tend to dip over winter as cold weather puts would-be thieves and bogus workmen off.

But police are expecting it to make a comeback around spring.

Crime reduction officer Pc Bob McKinney is involved with Operation Monarda which targets doorstep crime.

He said: “There are two strands to doorstep crime, there are rogue traders – who claim to be bona fide, always saying that urgent work needs to be done, and then there are bogus callers who pretend to be from an organisation. Doorstep crime tends to go quiet in winter time.

“The rise comes in the spring time because the roads are better and a lot of them are travelling from other areas.”

Pc McKinney is involved in the information and advice side of Operation Monarda, and goes out to target specific areas of the city to help residents learn about how to keep themselves safe from doorstep crime.

He said: “Certainly when it comes to the bogus callers who pretend to be from a company, don’t let them into the house. Listen to what they have got to say, say thanks very much, verify what they are saying and close the door and lock it.

“Phone the company and ask if they have a rep in the area, and verify they are with that organisation.”

He added: “Some of the best advice is contact these organisations before and say if you want to send someone to your door, write to you in time so you can be at home, and agree a code word.

“Always have a window sticker that says you will not deal with cold callers as well.

“When it comes to the rogue trader – keep them out. Listen to what they have got to say. Say you already noticed the problem, a male relative is in the trade and they will rectify it.

“Under no circumstances give them money because they will come back or get their cronies to come back.”