Thieves targeting OAPs in Wath

Sergeant Claire Learad of Wath SNT.
Sergeant Claire Learad of Wath SNT.

Callous thieves have been swindling vulnerable elderly residents out of their savings and valuables during a crime spree across part of the Dearne.

Police are warning pensioners to be vigilant following a steep rise in the number of distraction burglary and bogus caller incidents in Wath and the surrounding area.

Officers have launched an operation this week to target door-to-door scammers who have targeted around 60 properties in and around Wath since the beginning of June.

This figure was 18 more reported burglaries than the same period last year and police say the bogus callers have been operating heavily on the White Bear Estate.

Sergeant Clare Learad, of the Wath Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT), said: “We have seen people calling saying they are from the water board or other places and then they steal once they have been let in.

“There has been a definite rise in this type of incident. The general advice is if you don’t know them or are unsure do not open the door.”

To combat the issue, the SNT led Operation Rogue Trader in Wath on Monday to try and catch bogus traders and to offer advice to residents.

Officers arrested two men from Sheffield on Station Road on suspicion of stealing beer barrels. They were released on bail pending further enquiries.

Police community support officers also dropped around 300 leaflets through doors offering crime prevention advice.

Paul Murray, 41, manager of Wath Montgomery Hall, used by many elderly residents, said: “I have been a victim of a burglary myself a few years ago when my wife’s handbag was snatched when we left the door unlocked.

“We have many elderly residents’ groups who use the centre and I’ll be telling them to be vigilant.”

Vickie Ferres, chief executive of Age UK Doncaster, said: “The effects on an elderly crime victim can be devastating. It can cause them to stop trusting anyone who comes to the door, even care organisations.”