Woman arrested as police probe bogus call thefts

Police outside Barclays Bank in London Road, North End, on Julu 9, 2016, after a woman was stabbed. Picture: Loughlan Campbell PPP-170418-093131001

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POLICE investigating a series of burglaries by bogus callers have arrested a woman.

The 29-year-old was taken into custody on Thursday after a man contacted police saying he was the victim of an attempted con.

For the past three months a string of bogus call burglaries have taken place in the Southsea and Somers Town areas of the city. Police believe there might have been as many as 20 altogether.

All the victims have been elderly or vulnerable people. Police said they made the arrest in connection with seven of these crimes.

In each of the cases being investigated, the victims have reported a woman ringing their doorbells and asking to borrow money for a taxi after claiming she had been locked out her house.

Three of the victims, including a 94-year-old woman, later realised that their purses had been stolen and contacted police.

The arrest came after a 57-year-old man in Clive Road contacted police to say he believed he had been the victim of an attempted burglary.

He became suspicious after a woman rang his doorbell asking for money. He refused to give her any and rang police.

Inspector Jim Atherton said: ‘There has been a real problem with these distraction burglaries in recent months and it is good to be making progress.

‘We have arrested one suspect but our investigations are still ongoing.

‘Hopefully more people will come forward if this sort of crime has also happened to them.’

The incidents being investigated took place in Sutherland Road on February 23 at 10.45am, Fernhurst Road at 4pm and Suffolk Road at 4.45pm on March 23, Greetham Street at 3.15pm on April 1, Hale Street at 11am on April 4, Lowcay Road at 8.30pm on April 5 and in Clive Road at 11.50am on April 7.

Police press officer Tim Feltham said: ‘On each occasion an elderly person was targeted by a woman who claimed she had been locked out of her house and needed money for a taxi. Officers are urging residents, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, not to let anyone in to your unless you know who they are.’

Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or 0845 045 45 45 from outside Hampshire or call the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111.

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