Police probe distraction theft

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Detectives are appealing for information following the report of a distraction burglary at a property in the Queens Drive area of Newtownabbey on Tuesday, May 15.

Detective Sergeant Lyttle said: “It was reported that a man called to a property sometime between 2.45pm and 3pm and spoke to the male occupant. He claimed he was from the Water Board and needed to check the man’s water.

“The occupant allowed the man into his kitchen for approximately 10 minutes and stayed with him for that period. The caller then left the house. When the occupant allowed the man into the house he left his door open.

“The occupant reported that later that evening he discovered a sum of money had been taken from his bedroom.

“The caller is described as being six-foot tall, of medium build and was wearing a short-sleeved shirt and jeans.”

Police also received a report of a suspicious caller to a property in the Abbeyville area of Newtownabbey at around 2.40pm on May 15 asking to check the water.

The man followed the occupant into the kitchen and stayed for a time before leaving. He is described as being approximately six-foot tall and was reported to have been wearing a green/blue coloured jumper and had gloves on. The man stayed for a short time and then left. Nothing was reported to have been taken.

Detective Sergeant Lyttle continued: “We are investigating the possibility there may be a link between these two incidents and I am appealing to anyone who was in the Queens Drive or Abbeyville areas around these times and noticed any suspicious activity, or anyone who knows anything about these incidents to contact detectives in Antrim on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 1267 of 15/05/18.

“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100 per cent anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”

Urging residents to be vigilant, Detective Sergeant Lyttle added: “I would ask members of the public to bear in mind the following advice when dealing with unexpected visitors. We want to keep everyone safe in our community and I would appeal to householders to be aware of cold callers coming to your door and to always request identification and not to be afraid to do this as legitimate callers will not be offended and should have identification on display or available.

“Remember that it is your home, so it is okay not to open the door if you have any concerns. You could also speak to the person through the door or window, without actually opening the door to them.

“Not all cold callers are rogue traders, but some are. Report any activity that raises your suspicions to police immediately. This is a good way to alert us so we can investigate - and will help deter criminals and reduce crime in your area. Call us on 101. You might have seen an unusual vehicle parked or travelling on a road in your area, or strangers calling at houses. Remember that these could well be criminals checking out what’s on offer, and the level of security at people’s homes. Take a note of the vehicle registration number and a description of any vehicles that cause you any concern, and pass that information onto police by phoning 101. I would also appeal to neighbours and relatives to be aware of those who may be vulnerable and report suspicious activity on their behalf.

“If you would like further advice on home security you can contact your local Crime Prevention Officer on 101. Everyone has a right to feel safe in their home and, together we can ensure that the people we care about most feel safe and confident in their own homes and know who to contact for help and support.

“Remember too that the free Quick Check service is available by phoning 101 to check if callers are genuine.”