Rogue Traders: Not sure? Don’t answer the door

Thieves posing as bogus officials or people in distress to carry out distraction burglaries are being targeted during a national campaign this week.

Operation Rogue Trader – a national campaign – is in its 12th year. The last Rogue Trader Operation in 2016 saw nearly 300 people arrested, and nearly £3 million worth of property recovered and over 5,000 vehicles inspected.

Cumbria Constabulary is supporting the campaign and will be working with other forces and agencies to target those responsible.

The Constabulary is also calling on people to take responsibility for making sure their own friends, family and neighbours – particularly where they are elderly – are aware of the dangers of rogue traders and distraction burglars.

Crime Prevention Officer Claire Stevens said:

“Not all burglars seek to break into your home while you’re away or asleep. Some burglars are actually invited inside.

“Distraction burglaries usually take place when someone comes to your door posing as an official or asking for your help with something. They make up a story looking to get inside the home.

“These unscrupulous offenders usually target the most vulnerable people – often the elderly. So please speak to family members and keep a look out for your neighbours to help ensure they do not fall victim.”

People should always be on their guard if someone comes to their door who they are not expecting and you should never agree to have work carried out by someone just passing by.

If you’re interested in minimising the risk of falling prey to a distraction burglar, please follow this advice:

• Lock your front and back doors, even when you’re at home
• If you’re opening the door to someone you don’t know, put the chain or door bar on first and keep it on whilst talking to the visitor.
• Check their clothing. Do they have identification? If they are genuine, they will not mind you carrying out checks to make sure they are legitimate. If you’re unsure, ask the caller to return at a time someone will be with you.

If you think a bogus caller or distraction burglar has been to your home then call 999 immediately.

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