Who's that knocking at my door?

Ealing's Police provide advice to protect you from bogus callers

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Recently, there have been a growing number of incidents across Ealing Borough involving tricksters conning homeowners, usually the vulnerable or elderly, into allowing them into their home. Those concerned are currently posing as water board officials /workmen indicating that a burst water main has occurred in the victims street/area and they need to turn off the victim's stopcock.


It is not necessary for your stopcock to be turned off when a water main has burst in your area. If someone calls asking to be let in to turn it off, contact Ealing Borough police straight away.


It's not just trouble with your waterworks.


In August 2004 an elderly resident was tricked into believing he had a wasps nest on his roof, which the caller indicated he would remove free of charge. The victim went out for a while leaving the suspect on the roof of his premises and on his return found a number of tiles from his roof broken in his front garden. The suspect was no longer on the premises. We are unsure of the reasoning behind the criminal damage but there is a strong possibility that the suspect intended to dupe the victim into thinking that his roof needed repair in exchange for money.


On 28th August 2004 an elderly resident was tricked into believing that her water supply may cause flooding to neighbouring addresses. The suspect was adamant he needed to check her water supply and the resident allowed the suspect into the address. However whilst the suspect distracted the resident a further two males entered the address and stole her purse and contents.


The offenders are also known to use various other methods to gain entry and on occasions pose either as Council workers, Police Officers or representatives from the gas board.   They operate either on their own but can be in teams of two or more where on these occasions after entering the premises one will distract the occupant allowing the others a free reign to search the address.


What to do


  • If someone comes to your door to try and sell you something, don't invite him or her in. Even if you are interested in what they are selling, ask for a brochure or a business card. Say you need to speak to a partner/relative/friend before handing over cash on your doorstep.
  • If someone offers to do repairs on your home, don't be taken in. Ask a partner/relative/friend to recommend a builder/plumber/roofer/tiler to find out if you need the work done.

  • Make sure official visitors (Gas, Water, Electricity, Council and Police Callers) are genuine by asking them to produce an identity card with their photo on it.
  • Make sure they have an appointment. Call and check their identity with their office. Genuine workers will not mind waiting or coming back once you have had a chance to check who they are. Ask a partner/relative/friend to help if you don't feel sure you can do all the security checks on your own.
  • You have the right to keep them out of your home until you are satisfied they are who they say they are. Remember to keep the door on the chain while you get proof of who is there. If they cannot produce this then ask them to leave, if they refuse contact the police, using the 999 emergency system.


Any Elderly Working Group who feels there members require some further information on crime preventative measures to combat this sort of crime please do not hesitate to contact the Ealing Borough Crime Prevention Office at Greenford Police Station on Tel: 020-8246-1252 (A).


Alternatively further Crime Prevention Advice on combating burglary can be obtained from the charity based organisation BEESAFE on 020 8571 2228. BEESAFE work in close partnership with the Metropolitan Police offering preventative guidance and help to vulnerable and elderly people to combat burglary.

August 31, 2004