Water board brands burglars as ‘despicable’

YORKSHIRE Water have branded the thieves who posed as representatives of the company to gain access to a Whitby pensioners home as “despicable”.

Following a series of bogus caller incidents in Whitby by people claiming to be from Yorkshire Water, the company is urging all residents to be on their guard when unexpected callers come knocking.

Last Wednesday (2 Nov) a man called at the home of an 84-year-old woman in Helredale Gardens, claiming to be from the “water board.”

He said there was a leak next door and needed to check her taps.

When the man left her house, the woman discovered an amount of cash had been taken from a cupboard and it is believed another individual may have entered the house and stole the cash while she was distracted.

Matt Thompson, spokesperson for Yorkshire Water, said: “We thought it was despicable how someone could stoop so low.

“There’s no particular reason for anybody from Yorkshire Water to be knocking on doors but all our contractors are absolutely happy to be asked for ID.

“If they do call, we ask Whitby residents to ask for their credentials.

“You can call our head office on 0845 1242424 and ask whether they’re real or not.

“A real representative will have no problems waiting and they know it’s absolutely the right thing to do to shut the door on them while they wait.”

Other incidents have also been reported in York and Thirsk, with the Whitby suspect described as having dark hair and a dark complexion with pointy features, a slim build, aged in late 20s to 30s and spoke with a Teesside accent.

Detective chief inspector Heather Pearson, who is leading the dedicated burglary crackdown entitled Operation Haven, said: “Offenders who commit distraction burglary deliberately target the elderly and vulnerable within our communities.

“They are deplorable crimes and the aftermath leaves many victims extremely distraught and traumatised.

“Some never recover from the effects.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call North Yorkshire Police on 0845 6060247 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.