Doorstep crimes under the spotlight

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Bogus callers, suspect sales people, scam mail and distraction burglary is the subject of a new awareness campaign by Lincolnshire Police.

These people often target older people as the most vulnerable section of society, often affecting their health.

Operation Repeat aims to go beyond the usual tactics. Instead, key people such as community nurses and carers, are trained to get the message across through regular contact. Speakers for the conference at Lincolnshire Police headquarters included Chief Constable Neil Rhodes, elderly and mental health charities and Marilyn Baldwin of the Think Jessica charity. She set it up after her mum became a repeated victim of fraud.

Superintendent Mark Housley commented on doorstep criminals: “I call them vile people because they are vile people to me. They identify their targets and what do they do next? They knock on the door and they try to confuse, intimidate, and harass. They will even dish out violence to try and get them 
to hand over their 

“These criminals have taken away people’s property, but they have also taken away their security, their self-esteem, and their confidence. They have taken away an awful lot.”

Retired policeman Reg Burrell worked with ex-colleagues and Lincolnshire Trading Standards to develop the Doorstep Crime Awareness Project and trains people to pass on that knowledge.

Mr Burrell explained: “The most important message that we give out is that if people are not sure who’s at the door just don’t open it because if those bad people get over the doorstep they are sure they are going to get something from the elderly people they are dealing with.”