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Help protect vulnerable neighbours from burglars and rogue traders

Bournemouth and Poole residents are being encouraged to help protect their elderly and vulnerable neighbours from distraction burglars and rogue traders – as the ‘Refer a Neighbour’ scheme is re-launched.

Dorset Police and East Boro Housing Trust have teamed up under the scheme to fit free locks and door chains to homes of elderly and vulnerable people in the areas.

The organisations are encouraging concerned residents to call the dedicated Refer a Neighbour hotline number and leave their neighbours’ details on the 24-hour answer phone.

A local Safer Neighbourhood officer will then pay them a visit to provide advice on home security and how to deal with strangers who call at the door, as well as offering the option of having free locks and door chains fitted by East Boro Housing Trust’s Handy Van Security Service.

Detective Inspector Stewart Dipple, who is leading the scheme, said: “Unscrupulous people will try to gain access to the homes of the elderly and vulnerable – employing various distraction techniques ranging from offering to do gardening work, building work or stating they are from the water or gas board – in order to steal their belongings or con them out of money.

“We want to make the elderly and vulnerable members of our community safer and feel safer in their homes. A simple kindly phone call alerting us to a neighbour could prevent them becoming a victim of these vile criminals.”

In 2007, when the Refer a Neighbour scheme was last run, more than 200 homes in Poole were fitted with free security devices.

This year, funding from Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole has enabled the scheme to be re-launched in the areas.

To qualify for the scheme the referred person must live in Bournemouth or Poole, be unable to adequately secure their home or prevent strangers from entering their home and be aged 60+. Labour is free and materials are free up to a value of £250.

The Refer a Neighbour hotline number is 01202227840. Calls can be left anonymously and visits will be treated with discretion.