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Watch out, there's thieves about

TAKE care of that bank card – that's the message from police in Stranraer after a number of incidents where contactless cards have been misused. And there's also a warning about leaving your shed, garage or car left unlocked after a rash of thefts and the menace of cold-callers is back too. A spokesman said: "In the last few weeks the police have seen an increase in the number of crimes involving bank cards being stolen. "This crime usually starts with the victim either leaving their bank card in a cash machine within a shop or in the autoteller itself. "The perpetrator then finds it and takes it around the shops making sure that their purchases do not exceed the contactless limit and in no time at all run up a hefty balance. ":Thankfully, most banks are quick to pick up on the unusual activity on the account and will put a stop on the card until such times as they can make contact with the cardholder to check that everything is in order. "The police would urge members of the public to take great care with their bank cards. Please make sure that you have removed it from whatever machine is being used and take a second to secure it away in your purse or wallet. "It is not uncommon to lift your card and then unknowlingly drop it while your hands are full with your purchases so the essence of this story is to take your time to put it away properly and then leave the store with your goods. "The second thing the police would like to mention is not locking sheds, garages and cars. We are seeing an increase in the number of thefts from motor vehicles and from garden sheds that have not been locked. "Despite regular advice to keep valuable items locked and out of sight, some people still leave vehicles and sheds unlocked and this often leads to them becoming the victim of a crime. "During this lockdown, most people are spending more time than usual in their garden and the police would again urge you to make sure you put everything away when you are going back in the house and make sure that the shed is locked. "There have been arrests in Stranraer in recent days as a result of known thieves being caught trying car door handles whilst walking along the street. This is something that is becoming more and more common and this is due to people not locking their cars and leaving valuable items such as tablets, games consoles and handbags in full view. "The last thing to mention is cold-calling. There are individuals in Stranraer who deliberately target elderly and vulnerable people by calling at their house unannounced and offer to carry out garden work or other odd jobs about the house for a small fee. "After gaining the confidence of the victim, they then manage to get into the house by giving some form of excuse like 'Can I use your phone?' or 'Can I use the toilet?'. Once in the house, they steal cash, and other valuables and this can go on for several visits before being noticed and we have instances where several thousands of pounds have been stolen before the circumstances are reported to the police. "This is a despicable crime but is becoming more common and the police would urge the public not to employ any cold caller unless they know them personally or have come recommended by another. "If someone calls on you out of the blue offering to carry out some work and you do not know them, please tell a relative or contact the police and we will check them out. A genuine and honest worker will be quite happy to speak with the police and we would rather speak with a bogus caller before he commits a crime as opposed to dealing with him after the crime has been committed." Stranraer's Sergeant W. McEwan said : "I would like to stress that we live in an area that enjoys a very low crime rate but that does not mean that we should be complacent as there will always be people out there who will take advantge of any opportunity that presents itself. "All of the crime examples mentioned in this bulletin are easily avoidable if the public just take a bit more care of their property and think about who they allow into their house or garden. "If anyone or any group would like some one to one advice on how to best protect their property or indeed themselves, please contact the Police Community Safety Unit at Stranraer and an officer will get in touch. "We are happy to speak with groups and organisations about a whole host of subjects to help keep people safe and can also carry out security surveys on a property where required at no cost to the occupier. Our ability to carry out this function is obviously limited just now as a result of the pandemic, but there are usually workarounds and we will hopefully be back to normal service in the not too distant future. "We can be contacted by emailing WigtownCPT@scotland.pnn.police.uk or by phoning 101 and asking to speak with any officer from the community policing team at Stranraer. Thanks for taking the time to read this and please stay safe".

<< back Published: 18 May 2020, 14:54

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