Money stolen after ‘water’ man calls at homes

A MAN said he needed water turned off in the houses of two elderly residents in Ballymoney and a sum of money was taken from one of the properties.

The incident, which happened at Stuart Park between 10.30am and 11am on Tuesday August 30, prompted police to issue a ‘bogus caller’ warning.

PSNI detectives have asked the public to be wary of bogus callers and have renewed their appeal for vigilance from homeowners when dealing with unexpected callers to their homes.

A spokesperson said: “Bogus callers depend on the good nature and good will of others. They tend to target the more vulnerable members of our society and in particular, older members of our community. It is always advisable to be cautious of unexpected callers.

“It is worth remembering that bogus callers will use all sorts of tactics to gain access to a victim’s home.

“A recent example which CID in Coleraine are currently investigating occurred between 10.30am and 11am on Tuesday 30 August in the Stuart Park area of Ballymoney. A man said that he needed water turned off in the houses of two elderly residents. A sum of money was taken from one of the houses.

“Police are keen to speak to anyone who saw a male in the area this time. He is described as being approximately 5’9” in height, aged between 25 and 30, with dark hair and who was well dressed with dark trousers and a white shirt.

“There are simple steps to take to protect your home from bogus callers.

“If you have a peep hole or door security chain, use it. Always ask for ID. These individuals will sometimes offer a brief glimpse of an identity card in the hope that this will suffice. Don’t be fooled. Ask to see the card properly. If it’s in a card holder, ask that they remove it so that you can examine it closely. And always check that the photograph matches the person on the doorstep. It should be stressed that householders should not permit entry until ID has been verified.

“Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry a photographic identification card. Check this carefully. If you are unsure, telephone Quick Check. Dial 0800 013 22 90 and the person on the other end will check the caller at your door is legitimate. The service is free and operates 24 hours a day. Genuine callers will not mind waiting until you have checked that they are who they say they are.

“Neighbours can also play a part in helping protect the more vulnerable in their community. Residents should try to look out for one another and report ALL suspicious activity to the police. The non emergency police number is 0845 600 8000. In an emergency dial 999.

“If you feel you may have been a victim of such an incident or are aware of anyone who has fallen victim to such an incident, please contact CID in Coleraine on 0845 600 8000. Alternatively information can be passed anonymously via the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111,” said the spokesman.