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Elderly Belfast woman targeted in distraction burglary

Published 03/02/2016

An elderly woman has been targeted in a distraction burglary where a man claimed he was there to work on electrics in her Belfast house before she was robbed.

It happened on Tuesday in the Prestwick Park area.

Between 2.30pm and 3pm a man called to the house of the elderly woman stating he was there to work on the electrics in her house.

She let the man into her home and accompanied him to the rear of the property.

She then noticed a second man leave her house with her handbag.

Both men made off citywards along Prestwick Park.

Detective Inspector Pete Mullan said: “The woman was not injured during this incident, however she was left very badly shaken.

“I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed anyone acting suspiciously in the area or who has any information about this incident to contact Detectives at Reactive and Organised Crime at Musgrave on the non-emergency number 101.

"Or, if someone would prefer to provide information without giving their details they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

He added:  “I would urge people to please be aware of your elderly or vulnerable neighbours or family members and share the following crime prevention measures with them."

Crime prevention measures

1. Take a moment to think before you open the door and use your chain and spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise the person.

2. Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry a photographic identification card. Check this carefully. If you are unsure, telephone Quick Check, the special free phone service, on 0800 013 22 90. Quick Check is supported by all the main Northern Ireland utility companies and they will check if calls are scheduled for your address on that day.

3. Beware of callers who attempt to distract you by claiming that they have seen something untoward in your back garden or somewhere that may encourage you to leave your house - they may have an accomplice who is waiting to act upon this distraction.

4. If you are not convinced of the identity of the caller, don’t let them in. Ask the caller to come back later and arrange for a friend, relative or neighbour to be present on their return.

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