Police launch bonus caller operation

PUBLISHED: 16:34 08 February 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 11 May 2010

POLICE in Herts are using the same tactics deployed to deal with serious and organised crime to catch distraction burglars. They have launched Operation Manhunt in a bid to cut the number of distraction burglaries. Det Supt Mark Drew, who is leading the

POLICE in Herts are using the same tactics deployed to deal with serious and organised crime to catch distraction burglars.

They have launched Operation Manhunt in a bid to cut the number of distraction burglaries.

Det Supt Mark Drew, who is leading the operation, said the most vulnerable people in the community were the victims of distraction burglars or bogus callers who trick their way into properties.

"These are despicable crimes and will not be tolerated," he said. "We will use every resource available to track down those who commit these offences."

Mr Drew, who has 25 years of policing experience, said: "The Operation Manhunt team is using intelligence, covert and surveillance tactics and specialist technical equipment."

Police have already executed search warrants in the county and a number of people have been arrested.

Mr Drew said, however, that the levels of this kind of crime were "relatively low".

He urged the public to report any activity in the community that may appear to be suspicious.

"We would rather you report it and the activity turns out to be innocent than not reporting it at all," he said.

One of the most common excuses used by a bogus caller is to say they are from the "water board".

But Thames Valleys Water says it would be unlikely that its staff had to "cold call".

Three Valleys Water managing director Andy Smith said: "We remind all customers not to open the door if they are not expecting a representative from Three Valleys Water."

He said all staff wear a uniform carrying the company logo and each is issued with an identify card.

"In an emergency such as a burst pipe, engineers or staff from Three Valleys do not need to come into your home," said Mr Smith.

* If a crime is in progress call 999 or if you have information about these crimes call Herts police on 0845 3300 222.

* To check on a visit from Three Valleys Water call 0845 782 3333.

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