OAPs warned as conmen strike

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POLICE are warning Wigan folk to be on their guard after bogus callers struck at vulnerable residents’ homes.

Con artists knocked on the door of two houses in the Standish area and one in Ashton claiming to be from the “Water Board” in an attempt to gain access to the houses to steal cash, jewellery and other property.

Nothing was stolen from either address in Standish but more than £6,000 was stolen from the 83-year-old victim in Ashton.

PC John Catterall from the Wigan Division of Greater Manchester Police said: “This is one of the most heartless crimes where victims, who are often vulnerable members of our community, are targeted by callous thieves.

“Thankfully the offenders could not find anything to steal in two of the incidents but knowing that strangers have been in your house rooting through your personal belongings is still a traumatic experience for anyone.

“It is important to be cautious when opening the door to anyone who you don’t know, put the chain on the door and ask them who they are and what they want.

“If they say they are from the Waterboard then you will know they are bogus as the Waterboard has not existed for a number of years.

“People without an appointment or identification should be treated as suspicious. Don’t let them in the home, tell them to go away and don’t be afraid to call the police if you have any concerns.

“We want to catch these people but we need information from Wigan residents.”

The first incident happened at between 1pm and 1.30pm on Wednesday, February 13 at an address in Almond Brook Road, Standish.

While a man claiming to be from a water company kept the victim talking a second slipped into the house and rooted though drawers. The pair left empty-handed.

Both callers were white, in their 40s, of slim build and 6ft tall.

The first had short black hair, wore a black jacket and trousers and was carrying a black umbrella. His accomplice wore a black cap, trousers and a jacket.

The tricksters then struck twice on Saturday, February 16.

The first was at 11.50am in James Square, Standish where a man came calling claiming to be from the council.

When asked for ID he said he had left it in his van but the victim could not see a vehicle and the man did not enter the property before leaving.

He is described as white, 5ft 9ins tall, wearing dark trousers and a jacket. He was also carrying high visibility jacket.

At 2pm the same day two men called at a house in Hampson Close, Ashton, saying they were from the waterboard. One made a pretence of checking the taps while the second took money from upstairs.

One intruder is described as white, 6ft 1ins tall, of trim build with short dark hair and wearing a black jacket. The second man was white, 5ft 7ins tall of slim build, wearing a black jumper.

Pc Catterall said: “Anyone with information, no matter how insignificant it might seem, please contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”