Police urge public to be on guard after bogus caller strikes in Sunderland

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A man has attempted to get into a property in Houghton by pretending there had been a gas explosion.

Police are now appealing for information about the bogus call, which happened in Fieldside, East Rainton.

A person knocked on a door in the area and, after claiming there had been a 'gas explosion' in the street, said he needed to get into the address to turn the water supply off.

The occupant asked the man for ID and refused to let him in to the property when he did not produce it.

The man is described as 5ft 8 inches tall, and of stocky build. He may have had a moustache, and was wearing a black woolly hat and dark clothing at the time of the incident.

Detective Inspector Paul Stewart said: "The occupant did exactly the right thing, she asked the man for ID and did not let him into the property as he was not able to produce any.

"Bogus callers very often specifically target elderly or vulnerable people who may panic and not realise that the caller is not genuine, these offenders can often be very convincing.

"I would urge anyone who has an elderly or vulnerable relative, friend or neighbour ensures they are aware that they should not let anyone who calls at their home unannounced inside without checking their ID first. And, if they are presented with ID, they should check this is genuine by contacting the company or organisation the caller claims to be from.

"No matter how genuine they seem, or who they say they are, any genuine caller will not mind waiting or even coming back at another time."

Any witnesses to this incident should ring Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 945 021115 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more crime prevention advice and information, click here.