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Residents across Sefton are being urged to guard against cold-callers after a series of distraction burglaries.
Two teenaged boys have been knocking at doors claiming to have lost their football in the homeowners back garden.
Once allowed into the house, they have caused a distraction to allow one of them to be left alone long enough to steal the person’s belongings.
In one recent incident a woman had her wedding ring and an engagement ring of 50 years stolen.

Detective Inspector Andy Black from Marsh Lane CID said: “These offenders are pretending to be innocent youngsters who have lost their ball in someone’s garden. They are careful to speak very politely and courteously to the people they approach and unfortunately they are letting their guard down and letting these lads in. Once inside, they are engineering a situation to that one of them is left alone for a short period and sadly that is when they are striking.
“It is an absolute tragedy that a woman who was simply enjoying a spot of gardening has been tricked in this way and had three rings that were precious to her and of great sentimental value stolen from her home. Other people have had purses, cash and keys taken from inside their living rooms and kitchens.

“We are doing everything possible to catch these two young men and others who take advantage of vulnerable and trusting members of our community but there are some very simple steps everyone can take to guard against this kind of crime. Firstly, never let anyone into your house or garden who you don’t know, however young they are. Secondly, whoever it is who has called, ask them to wait outside and lock the door behind you. A genuine caller such as someone from the council or a utility company will not mind waiting outside while you call a relative or friend for some help. Finally, if you have any suspicions at all, ask them to leave, lock your door and report your concerns to the police via 101 or, in an emergency, 999.”
Four burglaries featuring similar tactics by offenders have been used in the Southport area in the past week.

On Wednesday, May 8, a 79-year-old woman was watching television in her front room in Claremont Road when a teenager knocked at her door asking to look in her back garden for his ‘lost’ ball. She allowed him through her house into the garden and after a short time, he asked if his friend, who he said ‘was much taller’, could also come and look. The pair then excused themselves from the garden and went back through her house, stealing her purse containing cash, on the way out.

On Saturday, May 11, a 76-year-old woman was at home in Braceridge Drive when a similar thing happened. Again, a purse containing cash and house keys were stolen.
And on Monday, May 13, a 72-year-old was gardening and had taken her rings off and left them on the window sill of her conservatory. Two boys approached and asked if they could look round the back for their ball. They returned a short time later saying they couldn’t find it and when the woman went to look herself she found the rings had gone and so had they.
Then yesterday (Wednesday) morning, two teenagers aged between 15 and 18 were seen acting suspiciously in Fordham Close, paying close attention to people’s houses. They knocked at the door of an 82-year-old woman and again asked if they could look in her garden for their ball. After distracting her, they stole her purse which was inside a shopping bag hanging up in the kitchen.

Anyone who has seen anything suspicious or knows who these offenders could be is asked to call Sefton CID via the 101 non-emergency number or leave information anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.



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