Bogus callers in Ahoghill posed as ‘utility men’

editorial image

Detectives in Ballymena are appealing for information following reports of bogus callers.

Police received a report of a distraction burglary in the New Road area of Ahoghill on Thursday 21 August.

PSNI Detective Constable Skillen has said: “Some time between 11.45am and 12.20pm two males called at the house of an elderly man stating that they were from a utility company and were there to check the electricity poles. One of these unknown males distracted the occupant of the house whilst the second entered the property via the back door. Both males were disturbed when another occupant of the house returned.

“When the elderly gentleman asked the men for identification one of them showed him the waistband of his top with what he thought had the words of a local utility company or something similar sewn into it.

“It is believed that the two men were using a large silver coloured car.

“It is not believed that anything has been stolen at this time.

“The first male is described as being in his mid 20’s, approximately 5’8” tall, slim build with dark medium length hair combed back and clean shaven. The second male is described as being over 6’ tall and of stocky build. Both males were wearing sleeveless yellow tops with fluorescent stripes, grey tops underneath and dark trousers.”

Police also received a report of a bogus caller calling at a house in the Carmagrim Road area of Ahoghill at approximately 11.30am, Friday, 22 August.

An unknown male is reported to have called at the house saying that he was there to test the water. He showed the occupant of the house a badge, however it is not clear what was on it. The man did not gain entry to the house. The occupant of the house also said that a similar incident had occurred on Tuesday, 19 August.

“ The unknown man did not gain entry to the property.

“ It is believed that this male was in a white Transit type van. “

Detective Constable Skillen goes on to say: “Distraction burglary or ‘Bogus Caller’ Burglary remains a crime of concern for all families and householders.

“In committing this crime, the perpetrator will present him or herself at the front door of a residential property where they will attempt to create the impression of being a public service official or an employee of a public utility company to the householder. Bogus identities previously used have been as staff from across a broad range of organisations, for example, electricity, water and social services. Enquiries about fences, electric posts etc are also commonplace.

“Always use the ‘Lock, Chain, Check’ routine when answering the door to strangers. Lock all doors when not in use and use a door chain or bar when opening the door to callers.

“Check the identity of callers before opening the door. Ensure that back doors are locked before answering or opening the front door. If unsure about the caller, do not open the door and do not let them enter your home.

“Ask all callers for proof of ID. Inspect their credentials carefully and ensure the photo is theirs. Genuine callers will be glad to show you their identification and will not mind waiting until you have checked that they are who they say they are. The QUICK CHECK scheme can be used to check the identity of callers by telephoning Freephone 0800 013 22 90. A call centre operator will answer that number and can quickly check with any service provider if the person at the door is a genuine caller from that particular company.

“Do not feel pressured to just let any caller in, if there’s any doubt - keep them out.

“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 am emergency dial 999.”