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Council and police highlight stranger danger
Tuesday 1st November, 2005

Wigan Council and Greater Manchester Police are joining forces next week to help vulnerable people give bogus callers the brush-off.

Police officers will accompany the Mayor of Wigan, Cllr Brian Jarvis, on separate visits to two sheltered housing schemes and a luncheon club in the borough aiming to highlight the dangers posed by bogus callers.

Officers will be advising residents of simple precautions they can take to defend themselves against thieves and con-artists often described as ‘the lowest of the low’. They’ll also be handing out leaflets and stickers carrying the slogan "Lock, Stop, Chain, Check" that people can keep as a permanent reminder of how to protect themselves and their property.

The action comes as part of the national ‘Meals on Wheels’ week (7th-13th November), which focuses on just how important this service can be to thousands of vulnerable people. Wigan’s meals are prepared and cooked by Wigan Council, apetito and the NHS, and delivered by drivers from the private and voluntary sectors as well as the council.

Cllr Keith Cunliffe, Wigan Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety says:

"Our community meals team provide an excellent service, but there’s more to it than cooking and delivering the meals – it can be a welfare check, a vital point of contact and a valuable source of information for isolated people. Bogus callers are relatively scarce, but we are happy to be working with police to eradicate them."

"Bogus callers are the lowest of the low – they exploit some of the most vulnerable people in our communities and we want to help the police eradicate them."

Greater Manchester Police will be issuing the following advice to residents:

1. LOCK - always keep your back and front door locked even when you are at home or just popping out briefly.

2. STOP - if there is someone at your door, stop and think whether you are expecting anyone. Ensure the back door is locked before answering the front door so that nobody can access your house while you are distracted.

3. CHAIN - if you decide to open the door, put the door bar or chain on first. Keep the chain on while you talk to the person on the doorstep. When the door is closed, remove the chain in case you need to get out quickly.

4. CHECK - if a stranger wants to come in and claims that they are from a utility company, the local authority or any other organisation, always ask for their ID, even if you were expecting them - genuine callers will happily show you ID. Close the door and check the ID carefully. Call the head office if you are still unsure, but use the number from the telephone directory or a recent utility bill, not the one on the card.

Greater Manchester Police’s local Crime Prevention Officer, Adrian Dolphin adds:

"Vulnerable people can help protect themselves by following the simple advice of our 'Lock, Stop, Chain and Check' campaign: keep front and back doors locked; install a door chain; check ID, and if in doubt, keep callers out.

"We urge people to take these simple steps when someone you don't know calls at your door, and to help police by always reporting this crime or anyone they suspect is a bogus caller operating in their neighbourhood."

Cllr Jarvis will visit the following venues between 12 o’clock and 1pm:
  • Pennington House, Leigh, Monday 7th November.
  • Pagefield House, Wigan, Tuesday 8th November.
  • St Aiden’s Luncheon Club, Wigan, Wednesday 9th November.

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