Water warning after OAP scam

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WATER chiefs are urging customers to follow safety checks after a bogus doorstep caller tricked his way into a pensioner’s home.

The Hartlepool Mail reported on Friday how serial burglar Jonathan Dunn was jailed for four years after he conned a 91-year-old woman out of £20 by claiming to be from the water board.

He said he wanted to check the water pressure.

Hartlepool Water has repeated advice to customers in a bid to prevent other people falling victim to callous callers.

The water company stresses most work will not require workers to go inside people’s homes and if it does they will be notified ahead by appointment.

Customers are also urged to check callers’ identity badges and if they are in any doubt to dial 999.

Kevin Ensell, operations manager at Hartlepool Water, said: “Unfortunately this is a common rouse that criminals use and people are very trusting, particularly the elderly.

“Our advice is don’t let anybody in unless you have checked their ID cards which we all carry.

“If someone appears on the doorstep without a van with Hartlepool Water logo on it, not in official workwear or without ID then don’t let them in.

“Customers can also ring us and verify their identity.

“Ninety-nine per cent of our work doesn’t require access to customers’ property without appointment.”

Mr Ensell added Hartlepool Water works closely with police and other agencies to drive home their three step approach regarding doorstep callers.

It is:

1. Stop and think, are you expecting someone?

2. Put the chain on the door before opening.

3. Check the callers’ identity card and “if in any doubt, keep them out”.

Northumbrian Water, which provides sewer services in Hartlepool, echoed Hartlepool Water’s advice and also runs a password scheme which customers can register with.

Any employee who is called out to an address will know the homeowner’s unique password to prove they are genuine.

Dunn, 51, of King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool, had 17 burglaries on his record linked to his drug addiction.

Judge George Moorhouse called it a “horrid” offence.