Sneaky burglars targeting elderly

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Elderly and vulnerable residents are being warned to be on their guard after a rise in the number of pensioners being targeted by burglars posing as workmen.

It comes after a man posing as a Northern Powergrid engineer called at a house in Birdwell, Barnsley, at 3.30pm on Monday, October 21, and said he needed to carry out work and tricked an elderly man into handing over cash.

Northern Powergrid, which is carrying out work in the Birdwell area, slammed the thief as ‘callous’.

Mick Hickling, head of network repairs, said: “This was a callous crime against an innocent couple whose only mistake was to be too trusting to someone who they thought was a legitimate engineer.

“All our staff and contractors are required to show proper identification when they require access to people’s land or property and they only travel in marked vehicles. We will never ask our customers for cash payment for any work we do.”

Distraction burglaries have also occurred during the last week in Royston, Barnsley, and the Crookesmoor, Walkley and Highfield areas of Sheffield.

In all the cases, a white man wearing a yellow reflective workman-style top said he needed to make repairs to gas and water pipes.

Det Chf Insp David Stopford said: “In all of these cases, the victims were elderly, and appear to have been selected on that basis.

“People need to be very wary when opening the door to strangers, even if they claim to be from the council, a utility company or any other business.

“Genuine callers won’t mind being asked for identification, and won’t mind being asked to wait while you check that identification thoroughly

“The sad fact is that these bogus officials prey on the elderly and vulnerable, but they can’t steal anything unless they are let in.”

n Anyone with information on distraction burglaries, or other crimes, should call the police’s non-emergency number on 101.