Elderly man robbed in distraction burglary

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An elderly man has been robbed in a distraction burglary in Derry.

Police say the man was left “badly shaken” after the robbery on Friday afternoon in the Ballynagard Crescent area of the city.

“It was reported that at approximately 2.40 pm an unknown male called at the home of an elderly gentleman. This male tried to sell cushions to the occupant and after no success left,” a PSNI spokeswoman said.

“A short time later second male entered the house after ringing the door bell again trying to sell cushions.

“After numerous requests to leave he finally did and it was then discovered that a sum of cash was missing from the house.

“The occupant was not hurt in the incident but was left badly shaken,” she said.

Police are also investigating a second incident which occurred around 6pm on the same evening when two males called at a house in the Garden City area and gained access to the house by requesting a drink of water.

The spokeswoman continued: “Whilst in the property these men were very pushy in trying to sell items to the householder. They left after the householder raised the alarm.

“It is worth remembering that bogus callers will use all sorts of tactics to gain access to a victim’s home. Genuine callers will not mind being challenged about the authenticity of their identity.”

Anyone with information on the incidents is asked to contact police on 0845 600 8000, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

Police have offered the following advice following these incidents.

• Before answering your door, ensure your back door is locked.

• Think before you open the door - use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them.

• Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry a photographic identification card. Check this carefully and telephone QuickCheck on 0800 013 22 90 to verify the caller is from the company they claim to be. QuickCheck is a free service and operates 24 hours a day.

• Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your rear garden or somewhere that may encourage you to leave your house.

• If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don’t let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return.

If you have elderly relatives, neighbours, or provide care for anyone who may fall prey to this type of crime, make them aware of these messages.

Police are always keen to hear from anyone who may have been approached at their home by a caller purporting to be from a legitimate company, or by anyone using an excuse to enter your home.

Police would also advise householders to refrain from keeping large sums of money in the house.

You can get advice on crime prevention and how to make your home safer, by phoning your local crime prevention officer on 0845 600 8000.