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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Pensioner duped out of her Christmas savings

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5:15pm 5th October 2011

A 91 year old woman in York has been duped out of her Christmas savings.

A bogus council official knocked on her door in Dunnington on Monday 3rd October 2011 and carried out the scam.

He told her he required payment for some work which the council had recently carried out.

He them became aggressive and stole £260 pounds from her; cash she'd been saving to buy Christmas presents.

North Yorkshire Police have described the offence as "cowardly and distressing."

Statement from North Yorkshire Police

Police in York are asking for the public's help to trace a bogus council worker who stole savings from a 91 year old Dunnington woman.

On the afternoon of Monday 3rd October, a man called at the woman's home in Petercroft Close.

He claimed to be from the council and told her that he required payment for some work which the council had recently carried out.

The man became aggressive and stole £260 from the woman which she had been saving to buy Christmas presents for her family.

The suspect is described as white, aged in his 40s, of medium build and around 5ft,10in to 6ft tall.

He was wearing a dark coloured baseball cap and a dark coloured top with a distinctive circular, brass coloured emblem on the left chest area.

Investigating officer, DC Vincent Morris of York Priority Crime Team, said:

"The identification and arrest of this offender is a major priority for North Yorkshire Police.

"This type of offence - the targeting of vulnerable elderly people in their home - is one of the most cowardly and distressing of offences. In this case the victim has been left shocked and clearly distressed by what has happened.

"The people who commit these offences need to know we have a dedicated team of detectives who will stop at nothing to bring them to justice.

"I would ask that the public be vigilant and report any suspicious vehicles, workman or callers, either to their own homes and in particular, the homes of elderly residents.  

"With your help, we will arrest these criminals and put a stop to their cowardly crimes. The Police are here to help  you, so please don't hesitate to call us."

Cllr Sandy Fraser, Cabinet Member for Crime and Community Safety at City of York Coucil, said:

"This is a despicable crime and I would always urge residents to ask to see staff ID, which council employees hold at all times. The council's Trading Standards team will be assisting detectives in any way they can, and I would ask anyone with information to contact the police immediately."

Anyone who can help the police identify this man, or has any other information about this incident please call North Yorkshire Police on 0845 60 60 247, quoting reference 12110167880. Always dial 999 if your safety is under threat or you see a crime in progress.

If you prefer, you can give information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Advice from North Yorkshire Police

The police's advice to residents is not to answer your door to anyone you do not know or are not expecting. If in any doubt - keep them out. You may also wish to consider using the nominated scheme.

Nominated Neighbour

The idea of the Nominated Neighbour scheme is for the homeowner to hold up a card to the window or door telling the caller that they do not recognise them and to go to their Nominated Neighbour.

That neighbour will then check the caller's identity.

A genuine caller will not mind following the instructions on the card and those with a criminal motive will make off very quickly.

Whatever happens, it is vital that any suspicious behaviour is reported to the police immediately.

For more information on the scheme please go to the North Yorkshire Police website www.northyorkshire.police.uk/neighbour where you can download the Nominated Neighbour card. Your local Safer Neighbourhood Team officers and PCSOs will be able to assist and offer further advice on the scheme.

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