A MASSIVE database is being used in investigations to trace bogus water board officials responsible for a spate of burglaries in Chester and Vale Royal.
Five reports of men calling at homes claiming to be from a water company were received by Cheshire Police call centre last Wednesday afternoon - two of the incidents took place in North-wich, two in Hoole and one in Frodsham.
Local officers are now liaising with a team at Winsford HQ involved in a national operation to target bogus callers.
The team has access to a huge database which contains a wealth of details about bogus callers from the lines they use to gain access to a home to the types of vehicles they use.
Information from the incidents will be fed into the database to see if there are any matches.
Operations Chief Inspector Nick Adderley said: 'This database is a great step forward in the fight against the callous criminals who trick their way into the homes of people who are often vulnerable or elderly.
'And because it contains data from all over the country, we have access to details of bogus callers in other areas. Criminals often travel outside of where they live to commit crime so this is a real bonus.'
The incidents in the Western Areas were all committed by men who tried to trick their way into homes.
The men claimed to be carrying out safety checks after water or gas leaks and in some incidents they were let into the houses after producing bogus identification cards.
The men involved were between 30 and 40 and wore blue shirts. There has also been reference to an Irish accent and beard and moustache.
Chief Inspector Adderley said: 'It cannot be ruled out that these incidents are linked and I'd urge everyone living in the Western Area to be extra vigilant at this time.
'Always ask for ID and never let a stranger in if you are not 100% positive they are who they say they are. Get a number from a bill to call the company a caller claims to be from to check them out. Don't use a number they give you. A genuine company worker will not mind being checked out in this way.'
If a resident believes they have been targeted by a bogus caller or if anyone has details about bogus callers they should contact Cheshire Police on 0845 458 000 or anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.