Police warning issued after distraction crime

People across North Antrim have been warned to keep their guard up when a stranger calls to their door.

The warning comes from police who are appealing for information following a distraction burglary in the Atlantic Avenue Area of Ballycastle on Tuesday, September 27.

Detective Constable Chris Wilkinson said: “At approximately 12 noon a male approached a house in the Atlantic Avenue area, he said he was from a utility company and asked the elderly female resident if he could check cabling at the back of her property.

“The female escorted the male to the back of the property. The male then left abruptly and when the elderly female went back into her house, she discovered that a sum of money had been taken.

“I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed anyone behaving suspiciously in the Atlantic Avenue area between 12 noon and 1pm to contact detectives in Coleraine on 101 quoting reference number 560 of 27/09/16. Alternatively if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details, they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Subsequently police advise local people to treat with caution any stranger who comes to their door.

They said: “Bogus callers use many guises, such as working for an electricity company, the water service, a satellite or cable TV provider and even pretend that they have lost a ball or even a cat or dog in your property.

“Once they have your attention, an accomplice will make an attempt to sneak inside without you noticing so he, or indeed she, can steal things like jewellery, cash, mobile phones and other devices. Whatever they can get their hands on they will try to take and you won’t know what has happened until they are gone.

“You can also use the Quickcheck number - 0800 013 22 90 to check if a caller is genuine. The 24-hour Freephone service enables householders to challenge and independently verify the identity of anyone calling at their door. The call is free and will be answered by a trained operator. They will take the details of the company, which the caller claims to be visiting on behalf of, then contact the organisation to determine if the caller is genuine. If there is anything suspicious the operator will contact the police directly.

“Neighbours can also play a vital part in helping protect the more vulnerable in their community against this kind of crime. Look out for suspicious vehicles and people and report ALL suspicious activity to Police. You can contact Police on the non-emergency number 101 or in an emergency dial 999. We will follow up on your call and there is every possibility your information could prevent a crime.”