Saturday, 4 June 2011

Police hunt for Lancaster 'Distraction Burglars'

Graham Street, Lancaster. Image via Google Maps
Police are appealing for witnesses after two people attempted to steal from an elderly man’s home in Lancaster, which has left the victim very shaken.

The incident happened on Thursday 2nd June between 5.00 and 5.30pm on Graham Street.

Two men dressed in suits knocked on the front door of a man in his 80’s and asked him whether he wanted his back yard done in tarmac. The man said no and closed the door.

A short time later, one of the men in suits has hopped over the elderly man’s back fence and entered his kitchen saying that he was working on a neighbour's property and required the man to turn his taps on. While this was taking place the other man could be seen loitering in the alleyway.

The first man then distracted the victim while the other man entered the house and went upstairs, making a loud and untidy search of the bedroom before running back downstairs and out of the back door followed by the other man.

Detective Sergeant Simon Dent from Lancaster CID said, “I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and who witnessed something to come forward and contact police.

“Although nothing was taken and the victim was not hurt, he has been left shaken following his ordeal. It is important that the people responsible are caught and brought to justice.

“I would urge everyone to be vigilant and do not allow anyone you do not know into your home. People should always keep their doors locked even if they are inside the property and not give criminals the chance to take advantage.”

Victims of distraction burglary - who are usually elderly - can suffer terribly both emotionally and physically. Would-be thieves often claim to be from official organisations, so always ask for some form of ID before opening your door to someone you don't know. The Water Board - which has been obsolete for years - is often cited, so watch out for such slips.

• The Crimestoppers web site has a number of useful tips aimed at trying to prevent this sort of crime: www.crimestoppers-uk.org/crime-prevention/helping-prevent-crime/distraction-burglary

• Anyone with information is asked to call Lancaster CID on 01524 63333 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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