POLICE and firefighters have joined forces to remind residents about bogus and distraction callers who take advantage of unlocked windows and doors.
Police Community Support Officer Sharon Fildes and firefighters Dave Worrall and Les Jewkes are all keen to make a difference to help keep residents safe.
PCSO Fildes said: ‘Everybody needs to be aware of distraction burglaries. Thieves knock on a door, create a distraction by doing something like knocking a few plant pots over and then run around the back and get in through an open door as the resident is occupied at the front.
‘Criminals also work in pairs. One may keep a resident chatting on the door step while the other heads round the back.
‘The best way to stay safe is to always look through a window or door spyhole to check who is calling each time there’s a knock at the door. If you don’t recognise the person, don’t open the door.’
Criminals use a number of cons to trick their way into people’s homes including pretending to be from authorities such as the water board or even the local fire and rescue service.
They claim they need to enter the house to check water pipes or smoke alarms but once inside they make a grab for anything remotely valuable.
Port firefighter Dave Worrall said: ‘Firefighters from Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service will not call at a home without an appointment.
‘Genuine firefighters always wear their firefighting uniform which is navy blue for Cheshire and will also carry identification. They also won’t mind being refused entry if a resident is at all suspicious.’
His colleague Les Jewkes said: ‘Lots of agencies who need access to homes to read meters run password and appointment schemes so people know when to expect a genuine member of staff.’
There are a number of ways people can reduce the risk of becoming a victim including keeping windows and doors locked when unattended.
Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service can also help improve safety for local residents by carrying out home safety and home security assessments which include fitting free smoke alarms and giving advice about home safety and security.
For more information about home security, visit www.cheshire.police.uk. Alternatively contact 0845 458 0000 and ask for a crime reduction advisor.
To arrange for a free smoke alarm, call Sarah Boyd or Sue Yates at Ellesmere Port Fire Station on 0151 355 3333.