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Community alert

Warning over antiques valuing cold callers in Tunbridge Wells

Police are warning against cold callers in Tunbridge Wells who may target homes of vulnerable people and attempt to scam them out of valuable possessions.

Concerns have been raised by residents following reports a man has been knocking on doors offering to pay cash for items, including jewellery.

On Tuesday 6 March 2018 an elderly woman answered her door in the Speldhurst area, where a man asked whether she had any old books for sale.

He was allowed inside and took an interest in a number of items throughout the property.

The man is said to have offered the woman money for pieces of jewellery and only left when he was told they were not for sale.

A similar incident was reported to police on 23 February, after a man cold called a resident in Wilman Road, Tunbridge Wells.

Never let strangers in

Inspector Richard Pringle said: ‘Never let someone you don’t know into your home. We have had incidents in the past where victims have been tricked into selling valuable possessions for a fraction of their value, or even had items stolen from them.

'Sadly, criminals will often target elderly and vulnerable residents and we are also asking relatives and neighbours to be alert to any suspicious activity.’  

Further advice:

If someone turns up unexpectedly always put a door chain on before opening the door and keep it on while talking to callers

If you don’t have a door chain, check who is at the door from the nearest window

Consider fitting extra security measures such as spy holes, door locks and intruder alarms and always check the identity of cold callers. Don’t be afraid to turn people away. 

Always ensure rear doors and windows are shut and locked when answering your front door

If you have any doubts about whether a caller is genuine, ask them to leave and come back at a time convenient to you and when you've had a chance to ask someone to be with you

Call police if you suspect cold callers may be bogus

Be aware of methods used by criminals to distract you such as being asked to make a telephone call, to use your toilet, for a glass of water or being asked to check water or gas supplies 

Report crime or suspicions

Report any suspicious behaviour by calling 101, or emailing [email protected]  If a crime is in progress call 999.

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