Friday, 14 January 2011

Water Problems?!!!

A PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:: Police are warning people across the force to beware of bogus callers, as criminals take advantage of the increase in burst pipes and water mains caused by cold weather. Over the last week, a number of offences have been reported to police across the force where bogus “Waterboard” and Dyno-rod officials have tricked their way into homes before stealing cash, purses and wallets. Darren Taylor, acting sergeant on the Bristol Doorstep Crime Team consisting of police and Trading Standards officers, said: “Offenders have been knocking on doors, unfortunately targeting elderly and more vulnerable people, and claiming they are fixing water leaks and burst pipes in the road. “A common theme in these offences is that victims are being told that there is blue dye in the water, and they need the victim to run the kitchen taps to check the system. “If someone knocks on your door and you hear these things, alarm bells should start ringing. “There is no longer a Waterboard – it is a term used only by bogus callers. Water companies also never put dye into the water. “Since the formation of the Bristol Doorstep Crime Team and Avon and Somerset’s work to tackle doorstep crime with the national Operation Liberal, we have reduced distraction burglaries and rogue trading offences by around 60% in the city. “In turn there has been a substantial increase in the number of crimes being detected with more offenders being identified and locked up than ever before. “We want to further drive down these offences and warn people of what to look out for so that we stop people from becoming victims in the first place.” The Bristol Doorstep Crime Team is a partnership between Bristol CID and Bristol City Council Trading Standards. This joint enterprise has been investigating distraction burglary and Rogue trading in the city for 18 months. Acting Sergeant Taylor said: “If you are visited by someone requesting access and you have not reported a water leak then do not let anyone into your home. “You do not need to run your taps. “Be wary of unknown, unscheduled callers – just because they have a plastic id card and a boiler suit it does not make them genuine. “A genuine official will understand and will happily make a future appointment or provide credentials to confirm their identity.” If you believe that you have seen or been visited by these offenders then please report it to the police on 0845 456 7000. If you have any information that may help catch these offenders call 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Top tips for staying safe Always make sure visitors to your home are who they say they are by asking to see their identification. Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller, as they may be bogus. Always use a number from your utility bill or a phone book. 'Water Boards' no longer exist, it is an obsolete phrase used only by bogus callers. Ensure that if you do let somebody in to your home, that you close the door behind them - distraction burglars often work in teams, where one will distract you while another sneaks in through the insecure door. Always close and lock the back door before answering the front door. LOCK: Keep your front and back doors locked, even when you are at home. STOP: Before you answer, stop and think if you are expecting anyone. Check that you have locked any back doors and taken the key out. Look through the spy hole or the window to see who it is. CHAIN: If you decide to open the door, put the door chain or bar on first. CHECK: If someone who looks official calls at your door, always ask for their identity card; do they look like the person on the card? If you do not have a chain, ask for ID to be put through the letterbox and remember there's no such thing as the water board. Visit the Force website on www.avonandsomerset.police.uk where you can also sign up to receive local news and alerts, Crimestoppers appeals and job details, direct to your inbox – on http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/Interactive/

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