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The following is a copy of a TVP press release that went out on Friday (6/11):

Distraction burglars pose as police officers - Slough
Friday 06 November 2009.

Thames Valley Police is warning residents to be on their guard against bogus callers, after a spate of distraction burglaries in the Slough area where the offenders posed as police officers.

Three offences, two distraction burglaries and an attempted distraction burglary, took place between 5pm and 9pm yesterday (5/11).

Sometime between 5pm and 8.27pm, two men posing as police officers stole cash and jewellery from a resident in Langley. The offenders are two white males, both in their thirties. One was said to be scruffy looking.

Sometime between 8pm and 9pm, a man posing as a police officer stole cash from an elderly resident in the central Slough area. He is white, aged about 50 and slim. He has greying brown hair, spoke with a local accent and was wearing blue jeans with the legs turned up, a shirt and tie, a dark jacket and a black baseball cap. He left the house accompanied by a second man.

At 8.19pm, a woman claiming to be a police officer knocked at the door of an elderly resident in the Manor Park area, although the resident did not let her in. There is currently no description of the woman.

Police are keeping an open mind as to whether the incidents are linked.

Thames Valley Police has issued the following advice to help residents avoid becoming the victim of distraction burglary:

. If you are suspicious of an unexpected caller, contact police immediately on 999, giving as much detail about the person as possible. It may be that the same caller has caused concern elsewhere.

. You should never open your door to a stranger. If someone comes to your door, use your intercom system or shout through the door to see who it is.

. If the person is not expected, do not open the door. Tell them to make an appointment. If they say there is an emergency, check with the police.

. If the person is expected, put the chain on and then check their identification. If you do not have a chain, ask for the identification to be put through the letterbox.

. Some offenders will not bother to trick their way in if they find an insecure window or door. Make sure all your windows and doors can be easily locked and are locked whenever you leave the room. Padlock your side gate. Make sure your house is secure if you go into the garden.

. If you need any work done in your home or garden it is advisable to contact Age Concern to ask for advice. You should check whether people are genuine before letting them carry out any work.

. Remember that the water board no longer exists. Genuine callers from gas, electricity and water companies will carry ID cards and are likely have uniforms and marked vehicles.

. If you are worried about your security contact your local Crime Reduction Office via the Police Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505. Additional advice can be found on the Thames Valley Police website via the following link:

Please inform elderly members of your community about this advice - unfortunately, elderly people are especially vulnerable to distraction burglary.

Anyone with information about the incidents is urged to contact Det Con Emma Owens of the Priority Crime Team at Slough via the 24-hour Police Enquiry Centre on 0845 8 505 505. If you don't want to speak to police or give your name, please call the Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111. In an emergency dial 999.

Thames Valley Police and their partners in four Local Police Areas (LPAs) in the Thames Valley - Chiltern, South Buckinghamshire, Slough and Windsor and Maidenhead - are currently running an autumn clampdown on distraction buglary named Operation Sundown. Operation Sundown involves sharing intelligence, forensic opportunities, and looking at links between crimes committed across the four neighbouring LPAs; whilst also working with partners to send a clear message to elderly and vulnerable residents that if an unknown visitor calls at their house, to keep them out.

For general crime prevention information and tips on how to help keep your home protected, please visit