Bogus caller sparks alert

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AN alert homeowner stopped a bogus caller from conning his way into his home.

Detectives say that a man called at an address in Council Avenue, Shiney Row, claiming to be from an energy company.

He asked to check light switches at the property but when he couldn’t provide ID the home owner refused to let him in.

Police have now began inquiries to find the caller.

Residents living in the street today said this is the first time they have heard of the problem in their neighbourhood.

John Wallace, 80, who lives in Council Avenue with wife Doris, 81, said: “The police were here last night but we hadn’t heard or seen anything.

“The lady officer said to be careful when answering the door.”

Another man who lives in the street, but didn’t want to be named, said: “I’ve been told about what happened, but I haven’t seen anything.

“The police have been to a few doors in the street.”

The man is described as white, in his 40s, of stocky build with a shaven head. He had a blotchy and weathered complexion and spoke with a Sunderland accent.

He was wearing an orange, high-visibility vest and was carrying a dark book.

Neighbourhood Inspector Lisa Musgrove, who covers the area, said: “This gentleman has done exactly the right thing by refusing the caller entry when no ID was produced on request.

“Callers claiming to be officials should always have a valid ID containing their picture and name of the company they are working for.

“Any genuine caller will not mind waiting while their credentials are checked.”

The warning comes as part of Northumbria Police’s “If in doubt, keep them out” campaign which aims to raise awareness of crime prevention advice residents can take to stop themselves from being a victim.

“We would urge people to be vigilant when anyone unexpected calls at their door,” added Insp Musgrove.

“Anyone who believes they have information to assist with enquiries around this incident should contact us.”

The incident happened at about 3.20pm on Tuesday.

Those with information should police on 03456 043 043 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Twitter: @davidallison88