A spate of distraction burglaries across Gedling borough has prompted police to issue a warning to elderly and vulnerable residents who are being targeted.
The warning comes after five distraction burglaries were committed in the borough over a 10-day period, between May 27, 2020 and June 4, 2020.
There has also been an increase in reports of rogue traders targeting elderly residents
During this period addresses were targeted in Mapperley (Kenrick Road), Arnold (Calverton Road, Jenned Road and Patricia Drive) and Carlton (Standhill Road).
Pensioners were the victims in all five burglaries.
Officers are now advising elderly people not to answer the door to any unexpected callers and report anything suspicious.
They’re also urging people living near to elderly residents to keep an eye out for their neighbours.
Police are currently keeping an open mind as to whether any of the burglaries may be linked.
Inspector Chris Pearson, Neighbourhood Policing Inspector responsible for local policing in the Gedling borough area, said: “We are working hard alongside our partners to find those responsible for these heartless crimes and to bring them to justice.
“We have also increased patrols in the areas to provide reassurance to local residents and have delivered leaflets to properties providing people with crime prevention advice.
“We are continuing to work closely with our colleagues at Gedling Borough Council as well as with Trading Standards to revisit burglary victims and give further advice and support to the most vulnerable people in the borough.”
The rogue traders/distraction burglars believed to be involved in the recent series of have called at properties claiming to be gas workers and television repairmen, in two of the cases, and builders in two others.
In another of the cases three men called at the home of a couple aged in their 80s in Patricia Drive, Arnold, just after 2pm on 26 May 2020.
The 83-year-old woman was distracted by one of the men while the others entered her home before taking jewellery and cash.
The couple’s son-in-law, Paul Stanton, said: “It’s horrendous that these men stole from people who clearly weren’t able to defend themselves.
“My mother-in-law was physically very shocked by what happened and very upset with herself that she fell for their trick.
“One thing that has restored my faith is the community spirit that has been shown towards them by their neighbours, especially during these difficult times.
“After it happened someone left them a best wishes card as well as some money and flowers which was a really lovely gesture. It really touched my mother-in-law who was gobsmacked by the kindness shown and it really cheered me up too.
“I’m really grateful that their neighbours are so nice and have been checking on them and making sure they’re alright.”
Since the burglary Mr Stanton and his daughter have helped to fit a doorbell camera at their relatives’ home to provide extra security.
They have also echoed police advice for people to be alert when dealing with unexpected callers and to report any suspicious activity in their area to police by calling 101 or 999 if it’s an emergency.
One of the suspects involved in this burglary is white, about 5ft 9ins tall, of stocky build, and had short dark hair. He was wearing a light-coloured T-shirt, dirty light blue denim jeans, a dark blue/black baseball cap and a black face mask. He spoke with a European accent.
The second is white, about 5ft 10ins tall and of stocky build. He was wearing a light-coloured T-shirt, blue jeans and a black face mask.
The third is white, about 5ft 10ins tall, of stocky build and was wearing a light coloured T-shirt, blue jeans and a green medical-style face mask.
Details of the other reported Gedling borough incidents are:
• At around 3.20pm on 30 May 2020 a suspect entered a 91-year-old woman’s home in Calverton Road, Arnold, who was told that her Freeview box was faulty and needed fixing. She later discovered her video recorder had been stolen.
• A vulnerable 93-year-old man was visited by two men in a white van and allowed them to carry out work on his home in Arnold, on 27 May 2020. He did so without establishing who they were or the company they worked for. They said they would be coming back at 4pm for more money as not enough was given.
• Three men in a black van called at an 80-year-old man’s home in Carlton on the morning of 29 May 2020. They identified a loose brick on the victim’s chimney. He told the men to go and that he didn’t need work doing but they ignored this, fetching ladders before starting to working on it. The victim asked them to leave but they ignored this. He later withdrew £400 and asked them how much he owed them? The men snatched the cash and drove off.
• An attempted distraction burglary happened at a 58-year-old woman’s home in Mapperley on Thursday (4 June 2020). A large white van turned up outside. One of the men got out and approached her, claiming to be a gas installer in an attempt to enter her home. After she had asked to see his ID and asked further questions he returned to his van and drove off.
The man was about 5ft 6ins tall, of medium build and around 35-years-old. He was very scruffy and wore a dirty grey jumper and blue jeans. He had black straight hair and was unshaven.
Insp Pearson added: “Although the descriptions of the offenders vary I would urge anyone who recognises the men as described, anyone who recognises the vans as pictured or anyone who has any other information about these incidents to please get in touch by calling Nottinghamshire Police on 101.
“Our message is simple – if you are not expecting someone coming to your home, don’t answer the door.
“Official callers will always make an appointment in advance.
“I would also urge anyone with elderly or vulnerable relatives or neighbours to keep an eye on anyone calling at their house, where possible.”
Leader of Gedling Borough Council, Councillor John Clarke, said: “These crimes against some of our most vulnerable residents are absolutely appalling and shocking.
“Our Neighbourhood Wardens are working closely with the Police to do everything we can to catch these criminals and we urge residents to take extra care when answering the door and to call 101 if they are suspicious.”