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Bogus official sentenced - Wigan
Friday 14th December, 2007

Bogus official sentenced - Wigan
Paul Anthony Harden - Guilty

A 39-year-old man is beginning a three-year jail term today, Friday 14 December 2007, after pleading guilty to committing bogus official burglaries on vulnerable homeowners.

Paul Anthony Harden (born 13/01/68) of Chamberlain Street in St Helens was convicted of two counts of burglary at Liverpool Crown Court.

He was sentenced to three years and four months in jail yesterday, Thursday 13 December 2007.

The charges relate to bogus official burglaries that happened in the Wigan area between April and August 2007.

Harden's victims were both elderly people.

He approached their homes masquerading as a door-to-door salesman and claiming he was selling cleaning products.

Once inside, he would then distract his victims by, for example, asking for a drink. When they were out of sight he stole their wallets or cash.

DC Debbie Pennington from the burglary unit said: "This man unscrupulously targeted people who were trusting and helpful so he could steal petty amounts of money that, to a criminal like him, mean nothing but to his victims could be a week's pension. People like him disgust me."

Some important safety tips:

- When a stranger knocks on your door, keep it latched at all times. If you do not have a latch ask them to push their id card through the letterbox.
- Do not let anyone into your house without verifying their id. Check the name of the company in the phone book, and call the company before letting them in to make sure they are genuine.
- If you have any concerns at all do not let the person in.
- Ask them to call back when a family member, friend or neighbour is there. Genuine callers would never wish to cause distress, and would be happy to call again.
- Finally, look out for your neighbours, and report any suspicious activity to police.

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