Conmen strike at elderly couple’s home

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Two burglars tricked their way into the home of an elderly Rugby couple last week.

The incident took place on Thursday June 27 at about 2.45pm. One of the conmen called at the property and told the 73-year old female occupant that he needed to examine the chimney stack, as he was aware it needed repair work doing on it. He initially asked to go into the back garden to view the stack from outside, and then said he needed access to the loft in order to examine it close up.

The woman decided she did not want him in the house and asked him to leave. He then used a mobile phone to contact an accomplice to ask him come into the house. The woman told them both to leave the property stating she was going to call the police and was going to check they were genuine workers. Both men made their excuses and left.

Warwickshire Police are now urging householders to be on their guard against intruders who con their way into homes. Detective Constable Steve Flavell from the Rugby Acquisitive Crime Team, who is investigating the attempted distraction burglary, said: “Doorstep callers can use a wide variety of excuses to gain entry to your home, and can be very convincing.

“A second person often enters the house while the householder is being distracted by the first person, leaving the other free to search the property. Sometimes the owner is not even unaware a second person has entered the house and has no idea someone is searching their property.

“On this occasion the woman did the right thing when she became suspicious about who these men were, and stated she was going to check up on their identity and also call the police. Thankfully on this occasion nothing appears to have been stolen. “

The two men who called at the elderly couple’s home are both described as being white. The first is approximately 6ft 6ins tall and aged about 45 years. He is of stocky muscular build with short dark hair, which is described as flat on the top. He was wearing a navy blue V-neck T-shirt and mentioned he was a Catholic. He spoke with what is believed to be a Welsh accent.

The second man is described as being 6ft tall, aged about 30 years of slim build with short thin blond hair. He was wearing a white collared shirt.

Anyone who recognises the description of the men is asked to contact DC Steve Flavell on 01788 856118 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 where the information can be given anonymously.

As part of Citadel, the Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police initiative to reduce burglary in people’s homes, householders are being encouraged to take simple steps to protect their own homes from distraction burglary, as follows:

· Always people keep doors and downstairs windows closed and locked. If someone comes to the door, even if you are expecting a caller, put the security chain on before opening the door. This will prevent someone from pushing past you when you open the door to check who is there.

· Ask to see some identification, take it from them and check it carefully. You can contact the company they claim to be from by finding their employer in the phone directory. Do not just ring the number of the identity card, as they may have an accomplice waiting to answer check calls.

· If you have any doubts about the person calling at your home ask them to make an appointment to come back at another time when you can have someone with you. Genuine callers will understand and be happy to do this.

· If you do need work doing around your home get personal recommendations from friends or neighbours about who they have used, or find someone in your local trade directory. Never just engage someone who calls at the door.

· Remember you do not need to let a stranger into your house, even if they claim it is an emergency.