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91-year-old victim in bogus official burglary
Wednesday 1st October, 2008

Police in Wigan are warning residents to be vigilant after a bogus official stole cash from a 91-year-old woman.

Between 11:00am and 11:30pm on Friday 26 September 2008, a man knocked at an address on Rose Hill Avenue, Norley Hall, Wigan. He told her that he was from the local water board and needed to check her water supply.

Once inside, the man said that he needed to check the taps in the kitchen. He asked the woman to run the taps and check for any yellow bubbles. The woman began to complain that this was taking a long time. The man then instructed the victim to do the same thing again with the taps in the downstairs toilet.

While the woman was in the toilet, the offender searched the ground floor rooms of the house, stealing cash before leaving by the front door.

It is believed that the offender walked off down Rose Hill Avenue in the direction of Norley Hall Avenue.

The victim has described the offender as white, around 5ft 4ins tall, maybe slightly taller, and of a stocky build. He has short blonde hair, spoke with a local Wigan accent and was wearing a green coloured anorak.

The woman was not hurt but left very shaken.

Detective Constable John O’Donnell, of Wigan Strategic Crime Investigation Unit, said: “This man is clearly devious and will target vulnerable, elderly lady people. This is the second incident of its kind in the Wigan area in the past two weeks. It is not just the potential victims we need to appeal to but the community as a whole to ensure that no one else falls victim to this type of crime and that these offenders are brought to justice.

“If any member of the public saw a man acting suspiciously in this vicinity at the time of the offence or recognises the description of the offender given by the victim, we urge you to come forward and provide us with further information.”

Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact Wigan Strategic Crime Investigation Unit on 0161 856 7255 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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 identity. 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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