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6 February 2015, 06:38
Police are urging residents to be vigilant following two distraction burglaries in Cambridge.
The first happened on Monday (February 2) at about 1.30pm when a youth called at the home of an 87-year-old woman in Metcalfe Road.
He claimed to be looking for a lost kitten and asked if he could search her back garden. She allowed him and followed him around the back.
When she went back into the house a short while later she discovered two men in her bedroom who had tipped out her drawers.
They ran passed her and out of the house. Nothing was stolen.
The youth who knocked on the door is described as white, in his late teenage years, 5'6", slim with short, brown curly hair.
The second happened at about 3.15pm on Tuesday (February 3) when two men called at the home of a 49-year-old vulnerable man in Hurrell Road.
The men claimed they were from the council and had come to decorate. However, they asked him to put any valuable belongings on his sofa and when they left about half an hour later he realised some gold coins he had put there had gone.
The crimes are not believed to be linked.
Community safety officer Kate Thwaites said: "Distraction burglary is a despicable crime which can be carried out in a variety of ways and often on elderly and vulnerable victims.
"There are a number of precautions people can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
"It is also important that people remain vigilant to activity in their neighbourhood, particularly in areas with vulnerable or elderly residents."
To reduce the risk of becoming the victim of a distraction burglar, always remember:
LOCK - Is your back door locked? If not, lock it before you answer the front door as distraction burglars often work in pairs - one distracts, while the other steals
STOP - Are you expecting anybody?
CHAIN - Put this on before you open the door. If you have not got one, it is a worthwhile investment. It will give you that extra 'safe space' and barrier between you and the caller and then,
CHECK - Ask for their identification card, take it and look at it carefully. Close the door and check the number in the phone book - not the number on the card. If they are genuine they will not mind waiting or coming back another day.