Conmen prey on old folk

PUBLISHED: 07:42 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:13 24 May 2010

ELDERLY villagers are being treated as easy targets by conmen who are sneaking into their homes and stealing their cash. Latest crime figures show a sharp upturn in the number of offences in North Somerset villages classed as fraud or forgery, despite a s

ELDERLY villagers are being treated as easy targets by conmen who are sneaking into their homes and stealing their cash.Latest crime figures show a sharp upturn in the number of offences in North Somerset villages classed as fraud or forgery, despite a significant decrease in all other crimes.Village beat officers in areas like Churchill, Winscombe and Yatton say the increase is partly down to conmen tricking elderly people into letting them into homes.This week, two men knocked on an 87-year-old woman's door in Langford and told her they needed to check her water supply.As she ran the tap in the kitchen in front of one of the men, the other rooted around her house stealing her possessions.Police also say villagers are increasingly buying goods from internet market websites and finding their purchase is never delivered.Community beat officer Ray Bradley, whose beat includes Sandford, Churchill, Langford and Blagdon, said: "Without any question people getting ripped off on internet sites has contributed massively to the rise."Every time it happens they report it to us. Our advice to people is if it looks too good to be true then it usually is."We only recommend people buy from recommended sellers and reputable websites."The other problem we have is people going door to door claiming they are checking gas or water or trying to sell something."Our advice is if someone knocks on your door and they are a professional, they will always have some form of identification."Unfortunately, some villagers appear to be too embarrassed to ask sometimes but if the person is genuine they won't mind you asking at all.

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