Whitby Police are investigating incidents where residents with learning disabilities are being preyed on by greedy theives.
Vulnerable residents who live alone are being be-friended by the offenders who are going to their homes to use it as a base to sleep, drink alcohol and even eat their food.
In some cases they have even caused damage at the person’s home.
Police say the occupiers often don’t have the mental capability or the confidence to refuse them and that there has been an increase in this type of incident over recent weeks.
One arrest in relation to such offences has already been made and Whitby’s police boss says there are set to be more.
Insp Andy Colbourne said: “There is a pattern of incidents in particular locations still under investigation.
“We have made one arrest and there will be other people that we are speaking to.”
PCSOs are visiting vulnerable residents to help try and make sure they are safe and working with them to indentify culprits.
Insp Colbourne had this message for people who felt they were being targeted.
He said: “If you have got people knocking on your door, ingratiating themselves and you are not happy, report it to a carer, family member or the police without a second thought because we will investigate it.
“We are also doing some partnership work with Yorkshire Coast Homes to look at these vulnerable people.”
This trend aside, Insp Colbourne said incidents of anti-social behavior were down compared to last year.
From April 1 to the beginning of September there were 26 fewer reported incidents, equating to a 5% reduction.
Burglaries in Whitby are also down compared to last year. In 2013 there had been six in a week but only one has been reported so far in 2014.