WATER bosses have issued a bogus caller alert after a sudden upsurge in burglaries across Ellesmere Port.

United Utilities says conmen posing as water board officials have struck at several homes in Ellesmere Port, Winsford and Northwich, stealing property and cash.

Security manager John Barker said: “These are unscrupulous conmen who are taking advantage of people’s trusting nature.

“We very rarely call without an appointment. Always ask for an identity card before letting anyone into your home.”

Insp Paul Loughlin of Cheshire Constabulary said: “These bogus callers can be extremely convincing and often target elderly or vulnerable residents asking for access to their homes to look at pipes.

“We want people to be extra vigilant if someone calls at your home without an appointment.

“Take the time to properly check identification of callers. Don’t take someone’s word at face value just because there is a utility van parked in the street.

“It is very unusual for employees of United Utilities to call unannounced, so please be on your guard.”

The water company is working closely with Cheshire police by informing officers daily where genuine United Utilities work is taking place.

Police surveillance teams are patrolling those areas carrying out spot checks.

Mr Barker added: “Our message is very simple. Check the callers are who they say they are and if in doubt keep them out.

“All our staff, contractors and partners carry an identity card bearing their name, photograph, and a contact landline telephone number.

“You can check they are for real by calling our customer enquiries number 0845 746 2200.”