Drive to keep out conmen

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A FRESH warning to lock out doorstep conmen has been sent to Wearsiders.

Northumbria Police is launching the second phase of its If In Doubt – Keep Them Out campaign and is urging the public to be vigilant against bogus callers and rogue traders who target the elderly and vulnerable.

As part of the campaign, more officers will be targeting offenders as they continue to drive home the message to slam the door in the faces of conmen.

Chief Inspector Bob Ryan said: “Over recent months we’ve had reports of people pretending to be from organisations such as the water board or utility companies to get access to homes and steal from inside.

“In some cases people have knocked on the door saying building work needs doing to their home and then charged extortionate prices.

“These people can often seem very believable and use all sorts of stories to trick their way into people’s homes and either con them out of money or steal from them.”

During the last few months there have been a spate of incidents across Wearside, including a pensioner who was conned out of his cash in May by rogue traders who said his drains at his General Graham Street home needed unblocking.

The man handed over the money, but despite the men being at the house for more than an hour, the work was not carried out.

In April, cowboy builders targeted an elderly deaf couple living in the Fulwell area and tricked them out of £600 for work to their home.

Chief Insp Ryan added: “The best advice is to never hand money over to someone who cold-calls at your home, and never let them inside.

“Anyone calling from an official organisation will happily wait or come back while you check their identification.”

The If In Doubt – Keep Them Out campaign was launched in March when 1,000 posters were put up in community centres across the force area.

A further 6,000 leaflets were dished out to people by neighbourhood officers, Age Concern and Meals on Wheels staff urging people to be on their guard against bogus callers and rogue traders.

Anyone who may have been targeted by doorstep conmen can phone police on 03456 043 043 ex 69191.

Twitter: @sunechocrime