Police warn of bogus officials cashing in on cold snap

Merseyside Police are advising elderly and vulnerable people to be on their guard against criminals posing as bogus officials during the cold snap.

Officers are warning that opportunist burglars could take advantage of the cold weather to attempt to gain access to homes on the pretence of making checks to the property and are appealing to residents to keep an eye out on the behalf of their elderly neighbours and relatives.

Chief Superintendent John Martin said: "We are asking people to keep a look out for their elderly friends, neighbours and relatives during this big freeze and as well as checking in on them to make sure they have sufficient food and essential items we would ask they keep an eye out for bogus officials.

"Bogus officials are particularly callous as they prey on the elderly and vulnerable conning their way into homes before stealing cash and other valuables.

"We would ask elderly people to always check the identity of anyone calling at their door unexpectedly before letting them inside their home - any genuine caller will not mind waiting while residents verify their identity with their employers before being let in."

Anyone with information about bogus officials should call Merseyside Police on 0151 709 6010 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

To stop you or your family becoming victims, Merseyside Police recommend the following:

Always ask to see the identification of the person calling.

If you are in any doubt about the identification shown, phone the company they claim to represent and check - donít use the phone number they give you, look in the phone book for it.

Ask the person to wait outside while you check and never leave your front door open while you do so.

If the caller leaves and you are still unsure about their credibility, write down the details of the person and the registration number of any vehicle they have travelled in and contact Merseyside Police on 0151 709 6010.

If you have suspicions about a caller to you or any of your neighbours, contact the police.

The best defence against a doubtful caller is to have a viewer or spy hole and a stout door chain fitted to your door.