POLICE have today launched a week-long campaign to raise awareness of rogue traders and distraction burglaries.

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Safer Neighbourhood Teams and Suffolk Trading Standards will be talking with local builders and tradesmen to check they are legitimate in Suffolk communities this week.

They will also be talking to residents about the dangers of consenting to have work carried out by cold callers.

The Automated Number Plate Recognition Intercept Team (ANPRIT) will also be supporting the operation, which runs to Friday and coincides with a national rogue trader week.

Crime Reduction Officers will also be doing work to raise awareness of these types of crimes and how to avoid becoming a victim.

Detective Inspector Nick Power said: “The majority of people who call on homes are genuine, but we would like people to be aware of these kind of crimes and to take some simple steps to avoid becoming a victim.

“Rogue traders and distraction burglars do not usually break in or use force or threats, rather they take advantage of the victim’s vulnerability or good nature.

“We would ask everyone to be wary of any callers that arrive unannounced and to remember that you do not have to allow them entry in to your home. If in doubt, keep them out.”

Age UK Suffolk is supporting the operation by highlighting Suffolk Constabulary’s ‘Knock Knock’ campaign, which encourages people to talk about home security with parents, neighbours or anyone who may be vulnerable to distraction burglary.

The following advice is recommended to guard against cold callers:

1.LOCK – Keep your front and back doors locked, even when at home.

2.STOP – Before you answer the door, stop and think if you are expecting anyone. Check that you have locked any back door and taken the key out. Look through the spy-hole or the window to see who it is.

3.CHAIN – If you decide to open the door, put the door chain or bar on first. Keep the chain or bar on while you are talking to the person on the doorstep. (Normally when the door is shut and locked, leave the chain or bar off in case you need to get out in an emergency.)

4. CHECK – Check the caller’s details and identity before you let them into your home. If it is someone looking for help only go out to help if you have someone else with you. Don’t worry if you choose not to go to help – it is not rude or unfriendly. If it is someone claiming to be an official, ask for and carefully check their identity card, make sure the caller’s name and picture are the same as on the identity card, even if the visit is pre-arranged. A genuine caller will be happy to make an appointment to call back and will carry an identity card with a photograph. They won’t mind waiting if you want to phone and confirm their identity with the company concerned.

Anyone concerned about suspicious callers in their area is asked to report them to Suffolk Police on 101 or dial 999 if a crime is in progress.

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