Police across North Yorkshire are warning members of the public, especially the elderly, not to answer their door to people who they don’t know or aren’t expecting.
The warning comes following a spate of incidents in the Richmondshire area of doorstep callers selling overpriced household goods and claiming to be part of a Probation Trust scheme.
No Probation Trust in the country operates a scheme where ex-offenders sell door-to-door.
Officers want to warn people across the county to be on their guard. Although the latest reports occurred in the Richmondshire area, cold callers could strike anywhere.
Police are concerned that elderly and vulnerable people may be intimidated by the callers into parting with money for overpriced goods. They are also concerned that some may fall victim to distraction burglars.
Distraction burglars call unannounced and pretend to be officials from genuine organisations such as water companies, councils and in some cases the police.
Often working in pairs, they distract the home owner by asking them to do something such as turn on their taps, while they look for valuables to steal form the property.
Acting Detective Superintendent Steve Smith of North Yorkshire Police, said:
There are two messages we want to get across, one is that no Probation Trust anywhere in the country operates an offenders’ door-to-door sales project. And secondly, we want to encourage vulnerable people not to answer their door to anyone who they don’t know or are not expecting.
If you have any elderly relatives, friends and neighbours, please urge them to stand up to these people. Reassure them that they are not being impolite and that a genuine caller will understand if they do not wish to answer their door.
If you are in any doubt, you can ring the company who the caller claims to be from and again, a genuine caller will be happy to wait while you check their credentials. But whatever you do, don’t open your door until are 100 percent sure of who is there.
If you feel threatened by a caller, please call the police on 999. If you wish to report any suspicious people or vehicles, please call the police on 101.
Earlier this year, North Yorkshire Police launched a campaign to encourage elderly residents not to open their door to cold callers. The force produced an awareness video and have distributed thousands of leaflets and free door hangers to elderly residents.
You can watch the video on our website at www.northyorkshire.police.uk/boguscallers
Or, if you run a community or social group for older people, you can request a presentation from your local Safer Neighbourhood Team on how to beat bogus callers.
Please contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team for more information by calling North Yorkshire Police on 101.
To report any suspicious people, vehicles or activity, please call the police on 101. Or you can pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.