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More MS news articles for May 2003

Residents Urged to Beware the Bogus Callers

09:00 - 20 May 2003
Householders are urged to beware uninvited visitors after personal items were stolen from the home of a vulnerable Westhill woman at the weekend. Kathleen Caldow, 38, was first approached earlier this month, when a man in his 20s called at her door offering to carry out roof repairs. She handed over £10 to the fair-haired man, who claimed he would use the cash to buy cement for the work.

A second man, in his 30s, visited later the same day, saying there had been a misunderstanding about the repairs, before apologising and leaving.

The calls appeared timed so as not to clash with three daily home help visits for Ms Caldow, who has multiple sclerosis.

She heard no more until Sunday, when the younger man returned. He complained of pains and asked to use the toilet. "He really looked sick," she said. "He quickly ran to the toilet and said he had food poisoning."

The man entered the lounge and asked personal questions, including if she was married. He asked to see her engagement ring, saying he planned to buy one for his girlfriend.

The subject of roof repairs was raised again when the man asked for a further £50 towards the works, which Ms Caldow refused to give.

The man asked her to check whether his partner was at the kitchen door and to unlock it.

The man went in the direction of the bathroom one more time, leaving Ms Caldow in the lounge, and is thought to have left through the kitchen door. She later discovered a box of jewellery - including a diamond engagement ring worth around £800 - which had been in the lounge, and a personal CD player from her bedroom were missing.

"The worst thing I could have done was let him in," she said. "I will be happy to be the last person this happens to if my story stops it from happening to anybody else." Police issued the following advice:

Look through a spyhole or a window to check who is there, and use a security chain.

Always ask for ID and be wary of callers who have no prior appointment.

Be wary of workmen pointing out "faults" in the residence, particularly if they ask for money up-front to purchase materials to make repairs.

Be suspicious of people who ask to be let inside for such things as a drink of water or access to toilet facilities.

If suspicious about the caller's intentions, note as many details as possible and call police immediately with descriptions and registration numbers.

Anyone with information should contact Inverurie police on 01467 620222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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