Officers appeal for information after bogus callers target elderly man in Stoke-on-Trent as advice issued to residents
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Officers are appealing for information after an elderly man was the victim of a group of bogus callers in Stoke-on-Trent on Friday (18 June), and have repeated safety advice for homeowners to follow to avoid falling victim to such incidents.
At about 12pm on Friday three men approached a property on Carlton Avenue in Chell and began doing work in the garden.
Two middle-aged men began the work while the third, believed to be a young teenager, knocked on the victim’s door asking if he wanted hedges and trees trimmed.
The occupier, a man aged in his 80s, agreed to pay £300, but the three men asked for another £100 to trim a further tree, which the victim declined.
The men carried out about five-to-10 minutes’ work before leaving the property. They were driving a white Peugeot van with a photograph of a man standing next to a house on the side with the words ‘POLE SERVE’. Ladders were on the roof and the van also had a logo on its bonnet.
Advice was given to the homeowner regarding bogus callers to prevent any further incidents.
An image of the van the men were driving is also being circulated in case people saw it in the Chell area on Friday. The number plates on the vehicle are expected to be false so aren’t being identified as a line of enquiry.
Residents are now being encouraged to contact police if and every time they have suspicions about any caller at their door.
Even if someone claims to be an official - and that includes police officers and council representatives - people must get their ID checked out.
Residents are asked to remain vigilant at all times and to follow this advice:
- Never trust anyone calling at the door without a prior appointment. Should you receive such a call leave the door locked. The caller will hear you through the door when you ask them who they are. If they state they are from a utilities company ask for your account number, they should have this. If not, do not let them in and tell them to leave, and that you are calling the police.
- Always ask for ID, and check it.
- Do not allow anyone to carry work out on your home, or sell you anything when they cold call at the door. If you do require work to be done, instigate it yourself by phoning three companies asking for like-for-like quotes. Then decide.
- Do not keep large amounts of cash in your home. You may think that you have the perfect hiding place, but these criminals will find it.
- Please remember there is no such company as the Water Board, Gas Board or Electric Board. These words are only used by offenders.
- Always report any suspicious behaviour to the police. If you think it is suspicious, it probably is.
- Keep your doors locked even when you are home.
Anyone with any information about the above incident or who saw men matching the description in the Chell area on Friday should message Staffordshire Police on Facebook or Twitter quoting incident number 357 of 18 June, call 101 or alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.