Police are urging people to be vigilant against bogus callers and not to open their doors

Police in Rotherham are calling for residents to be extra vigilant against distraction burglars or bogus callers. These are criminals who pretend to be from utility companies or other organisations that trick their way into vulnerable or elderly people’s homes and steal from them.

These criminals often come across as being very nice and polite and use this to their advantage as a way of getting into your home. They always seem genuine and can claim to be from water, gas or electricity companies, roofing specialists and even the council and police.

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Robinson head of Rotherham CID said “If you are not sure who is at your door, DO NOT OPEN IT. If someone asks for your help, needs a drink of water or suggests that they are there on behalf of a water or electric company, offering to do roof repairs, or if reference is made to checking the loft then please check their details. Do consider joining a Neighbourhood Watch or residents scheme. Do not keep large quantities of cash in your home. If you do open the door, always use the door chain / bar. There are many things that we can do to prevent these offences. I would appeal for any information that will lead to the identity of people who are committing these offences. The message I will give out to any would be offenders is, be careful, we are looking for you."

Top tips for residents to avoid falling victim to this crime

• Do not open your door to anyone unless it is family or a friend

• Keep your front and back door locked at all times and never open them to anyone who is not expected.

• Contact your energy and water providers to set up a password and never let anyone into your home that does not know this password.

• Ask to see the caller’s identification at all times.

• Check that the person is genuine - do not take a telephone number from the caller and do not give them any personal details.

• It is OK to refuse entry or ask the person to leave at any time if you are not completely satisfied that the caller is genuine.

• If the visitor insists they need access immediately and if at anytime you feel intimidated or threatened call the police.

• Do not keep large amounts of money in your home.

• Make sure your back door is locked if you go to open your front door.

Anyone with any information should contact South Yorkshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.