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Police warn over conman danger.

Byline: By BEN GRIFFIN Crime reporter ben.griffin@mrn.co.uk

A RISE in the number of burglaries by people posing as officials has prompted police to warn householders in Coventry to be on their guard.

Despite the fact the total rate of burglaries has dropped by 13.3 per cent across the south of the city in the first 10 months of this year, the number of bogus-official type burglaries in the area has risen since August.

In the area covered by Chace Avenue police station, there are normally two or three burglaries a month where thieves dupe householders into letting them in, before they or an accomplice steals cash and property. But in August and so far in October there were seven, and there were four in September.

The headline figure for burglary in the area has dropped from 645 from January to October last year, to 559 this year.

Det Sgt Caroline Corfield, of Chace Avenue Police, said the increase in bogus official burglaries was mainly concentrated in the Stoke and Willenhall areas.

She said: "Although there has been a decrease in burglary, distraction or bogus-official type burglaries are on the increase in recent weeks."

Crooks have been posing as water company officials or plumbers, telling people they need to check their boilers, or saying they are from a gas company and need to check the meter.

Det Sgt Corfield added: "Don't open the door to anyone unless you are happy about who is there."

She said people should be suspicious of anyone who calls without an appointment, and always demand identification.

Anyone who remains suspicious should telephone the organisation the person says they are from to check their authenticity - getting a number from directory inquiries, not the caller. People from reputable organisations will be happy to wait while their identity is checked. If people remain suspicious, they should call police.

The news comes as police revealed there has been a citywide drop in burglary of 16.9 per cent. From January until October 19, there were 1,311 burglaries in Coventry, compared with 1,578 in the same period last year.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Oct 25, 2004
Words:355
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