The police are warning Crawley residents that a man posing as a water company may be planning more burglaries, after a distraction robbery in the area. The man called on a home in Wakehurst Drive around 3pm on Wednesday (January 10). He claimed he needed to check the water pressure at the property and offered to provide ID, but never actually produced this. Once inside, he turned on kitchen taps and left them running, but the householder became suspicious and asked him to turn them off. The man started leaving the property, but then asked to check the electricity meter, which he did before leaving.
Once he had left the victim discovered that cash, jewellery and a credit card had been stolen from a bedroom.
The man is described as white, aged 40-45, about 5′ 9″, of medium build with short brown hair. He was wearing a dirty hi-viz jacket, dark trousers and dark boots and spoke with a Cockney accent.
The police are appealing to anyone who witnessed any suspicious activity taking place in the area around that time. Anyone with any information is asked to report online or call 101 quoting serial 670 of 10/01.
These are some common scams used to enter a victim’s home listed on the Sussex police website:
- Lost ball – “I’ve lost my ball/my son’s lost his ball, please could I look for it in your garden?”
- Good Samaritan – “I’ve just caught someone climbing out of your window, I think they might have stolen something. We need to check your money hasn’t been taken.”
- Using children – “Hello could my son and I come in to ask you some questions for his school project?”
- Fake emergency – “There’s a gas leak/flood in your road, I have to come in to turn off your supply.”
- Leaving a note – “I’ve popped round to see my auntie/friend who lives next door, but she’s out at the moment. Please could I borrow a pen and paper to leave a note?”
The police give this advice:
- Don’t let anyone into your home that you don’t know. Always ask for identification – official visitors won’t mind being asked for ID.
- Fit a door chain, if you have a solid front door, fit a wide angle door viewer.
- If you were not expecting anyone, explain that you need to check they are legitimate and ask them to wait outside for a few minutes. Take a note of their name and the company they claim to be working for and then close and lock the door.
- Look up the phone number for the company in a telephone directory or on the internet and check they have an employee of that name and that they are visiting you on legitimate business. Never just take someone’s word for it and don’t use any phone number they give you to check their identity – you don’t know if it’s a genuine number.
- If someone is asking for a favour, such as to use your toilet, borrow a pen or retrieve a ball, don’t let them in. Instead direct them to a shop, office or public place. It’s only natural to want to help someone, but sadly that’s one of the techniques often used by distraction burglars.
- If you have any concerns about someone who has called at your door, call police immediately. If you have a chance try to note what they look like and any vehicle they have with them, so police can investigate.
For further advice on protecting your home, click here.