Burglars flee empty-handed after being rumbled by alert Northampton pensioners

Police appeal for witnesses after three men trick their way through front door claiming to be from Neighbourhood Watch

By Kevin Nicholls
Thursday, 12th August 2021, 2:30 pm
Updated Thursday, 12th August 2021, 2:32 pm

Two brave Northampton pensioners sent three would-be burglars packing empty-handed after they claimed to be from the local Neighbourhood Watch.

The elderly residents in Shepherd Close, Kingsthorpe, answered a knock at the door between 9.20pm and 9.35pm on Friday (August 6).

Three men entered and searched the property — but quickly left when one of the residents said they were calling for help.

"If you're not sure, don't open the door" is the message from police combating distraction burglars and rogue traders.

A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: "The offenders are described as white, in their early 20s and wearing dark clothing.

"If anyone saw anything suspicious in the area at the time or may have information regarding this incident, please call 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, using our incident number 21000442340."

Northamptonshire Police last year relaunched the Doorstep Action Network aimed at tackling distraction burglars and rogue traders who seek to exploit the elderly and vulnerable in the county.

Crime prevention manager Laura Jones said: “The message we want people to make their elderly relatives aware of is simple – if you’re not sure, don’t open the door.

“We are asking anyone who has contact with an elderly or vulnerable person to pass on this gentle crime prevention reminder to help prevent them from becoming a victim of doorstep crime.

“Distraction burglaries and other forms of doorstep crime often have a much more devastating effect on their victims than just the loss of money.

“They make a person, especially the elderly, feel exceptionally vulnerable and unsafe in their own homes, with past studies indicating that life expectancy decreases after you’ve been a victim of this type of crime.

“I would encourage people to pass on our DAN advice, which is available in leaflet form and via our website, and display the DAN sticker on front doors, which lets people know that cold callers are not welcome.”

Advice for those with elderly relatives or friends to protect them from doorstep crime includes fitting door chains or bars to use when someone you don't know calls, only let in callers once you have confirmed they are genuine by asking for identification or phoning their company to check.

Ms Jones added: "Never let people try to persuade you to let them into your home even if they are asking for help – they may not be genuine. If someone is persistent, ask them to call at another time and arrange for a friend or family member to be with you."

■ If you're worried or suspect that doorstep rogue traders or distraction burglars are targeting someone you know, call THE Doorstep crime Action Network hotline: 0345 23 07 702. If a crime is in progress, call 999 now.