NORTH BELFAST DISTRACTION BURGLARIES LINKED, SAYS TOP DETECTIVE

Burglary warningDETECTIVES in North Belfast are appealing for information following two reports of distraction burglaries earlier this week.

At around 12.30pm on Tuesday, an unknown male called at the home of an elderly woman in the Brookvale Street area stating that he was checking water quality.

He was given access to the house and kept the occupant talking in the kitchen. It is not believed that anything was stolen during the incident.

The male is described as being approximately 30 year old, 5’11” tall, with dark combed over hair. He was wearing beige trousers, brown jumper and a checked shirt.

Shortly before 1pm an unknown male called at the home of an elderly man in the Shore Road area stating that he was checking water quality.

He was given access to the house and kept the occupant talking in the kitchen. When the man left the occupant of the house discovered that a number of personal documents had been stolen from a bedroom.

The male is described as being in his late 20’s, approximately 5’8″ tall, with short dark hair combed over and clean shaven.

Appealing for information Detective Chief Inspector Gary Reid said: “Detectives believe theses incidents are linked and are appealing for anyone with any information to contact Detectives at Tennent Street Police Station on the non-emergency number 101. Information can also be passed anonymously by calling the Crimestoppers Charity on 0800 555 111.”

The DCI added: “Distraction burglary or ‘Bogus Caller’ burglary remains a crime of concern for all families and householders.

“In committing this crime, the perpetrator will present him or herself at the front door of a residential property where they will attempt to create the impression of being a public service official or an employee of a public utility company to the householder.

“Bogus identities previously used have been as staff from across a broad range of organisations, for example, electricity, water and social services. Enquiries about fences, electric posts etc are also commonplace.

“Always use the ‘Lock, Chain, Check’ routine when answering the door to strangers. Lock all doors when not in use and use a door chain or bar when opening the door to callers.

“Check the identity of callers before opening the door. Ensure that back doors are locked before answering or opening the front door. If unsure about the caller, do not open the door and do not let them enter your home.

“Ask all callers for proof of ID. Inspect their credentials carefully and ensure the photo is theirs. Genuine callers will be glad to show you their identification and will not mind waiting until you have checked that they are who they say they are. The QUICK CHECK scheme can be used to check the identity of callers by telephoning Freephone 0800 013 22 90. A call centre operator will answer that number and can quickly check with any service provider if the person at the door is a genuine caller from that particular company.

“Do not feel pressured to just let any caller in, if there’s any doubt – keep them out.

“Neighbours can also play a vital part in helping protect the more vulnerable in their community against this kind of crime. Look out for suspicious vehicles and people and report ALL suspicious activity to Police. You can contact Police on the non emergency number 101 or in am emergency dial 999.”

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