Sheffield detectives have issued advice following a distraction burglary in the Hillsborough area, in which an elderly woman had cash taken.
At around 3pm yesterday afternoon (Thursday 30 August), two men claiming to be salesmen entered the home of a 91-year-old woman in the Bradfield area of Sheffield.
They reportedly walked into the woman’s flat without asking, and tried to sell products to the victim, that she neither wanted or required, as Detective Sergeant Dave Devey explains.
“Despite the victim repeatedly telling the men she did not want the products, they forcibly demanded that she pay for them, which she eventually did under duress. However, once the men had left the property, the victim realised that a further quantity of cash had gone missing from her purse and contacted police.
“The first man is described as white, around 60-years-old, with white hair, of a medium – large build, with facial hair and was smartly dressed.
“The second man is also described as white, around 27-years-old, taller than the first man, of medium build and with short brown hair.
“A third man, described as white, has also been linked to the investigation, but there is no further description at this time.
“Enquiries are ongoing to identify these men, who we understand left in a black Ford van.
“We also have officers in the Sheffield 6 area today to provide reassurance. Should anyone have any information about this incident, please contact South Yorkshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 485 of 30 August 2018.
“These men clearly targeted the woman due to her age and vulnerability and distracted her while cash was taken. Sadly, this is something we have seen happening in Sheffield.”
"I’d like to ask people to make their family or friends, particularly elderly relatives, aware of these incidents. There are also some steps that you or they can take to protect yourself if you have concerns.
“If you ever have any doubts about the legitimacy of the person at your door, ask to see their identification – a legitimate caller won’t mind you taking the time to check their identity and verify it with their employer.
“Don’t be afraid to close and lock your door while you make any checks. If someone asks for money to be transferred over the phone or online, I’d strongly advise against this, as most companies will not ask for this type of transaction to be completed, unless there is a genuine reason.
“You could also consider putting up a deterrent sign which states ‘no cold callers’ to deter any knocking on your door. That said, bogus officials and cold callers can be anyone from adults, men, women and even children and may be offering a variety of services.
“Generally, cold callers and bogus officials claim to be from utility companies, charities or other reputable businesses, in order to gain access to people’s property.
“Once access has been gained, they will steal money and other valuables. Rogue traders will generally try and talk householders into paying high prices for services that are low cost to carry out, or don’t carry out a service at all.
“If ever you have any concerns, close and lock the door while you make checks, phone a neighbour or relative or phone 101 with concerns or 999 in an emergency and if you feel threatened.
“Finally we would like to reassure the public that we are doing everything we can, including liaising with neighbouring forces, to tackle cross border criminality. However, we do feel that the best weapon we have against these types of criminals is the support and help of the public so please do contact us.”
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