#OpStrongbow. This is Ronald's Story
18 Feb 2015 11:56 AM[View Full Size]
Police are urging residents to be extra vigilant after a spate of distraction burglaries across the force.
Officers are asking people to look out for their vulnerable neighbours, family and friends after 11 bogus caller incidents have been reported to the police in the last five weeks.
The offences have mainly taken place in North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside.
The offenders are knocking on the doors of elderly and vulnerable people and asking if they can borrow a pen and paper to leave a note for someone or asking for a drink of water or cup of tea. While the victim turns away, the offenders are taking belongings and money from the property.
WATCH: Ronald tells his story
There have also been a number of incidents where offenders are offering expensive furniture for sale but when the items are bought, they turn out to be old, used or not of value.
Detective Superintendent Alan Veitch is encouraging all neighbours, family members, friends and carers to look after their loved-ones and report any suspicious behaviour or incidents.
He said: "There has been a recent increase in these sorts of offences and I want to reassure residents that a number of arrests have been made and we will continue to crackdown on these criminals.
"I urge everyone to get involved and help prevent criminals targeting vulnerable people by reporting any suspicious behaviour or if someone calls at your door in similar circumstance please contact police."
Police are also working with local partners to raise awareness of these incidents and advice on how to prevent becoming a victim of such crimes.
It comes as part of Operation Strongbow - an initiative which targets doorstep crimes and distraction burglaries.
Do not let anyone in your home unless you have checked their identification. Genuine callers will not mind waiting while their identification is checked.
Genuine callers will also not mind being asked to come back at a different time so their identification can be checked or while arrangements are made for a relative or friend to be present when they return.
Anyone with any information or who may have received a similar call is asked to contact police on 101 quoting Operation Strongbow or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For further information search Northumbria Police Bogus Callers online or follow @NorthumbriaPol #OpStrongbow. #Helpkeepthemsafe
On Thursday, February 5, between 1.30pm and 1.35pm a man knocks on the door at an address in Chapel House and asks for a coffee while waiting for a neighbour. As the victim makes a coffee the offender takes money from a drawer and makes off. No arrest has been made and police are appealing for anyone with information to contact police. The man is described as being 6ft tall, thin build and was wearing a woolly hat and made off on a bike. Extra officers have been on patrol in the area to carry out enquiries and provide reassurance. Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 7121G/15 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.