Police investigating reports of fake Thames Water employee burgling homes in Ilford and Wanstead
PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 November 2019
Redbridge residents are warned to be on their guard against burglars posing as council or Thames Water employees to gain access to properties.
The Recorder has this week been contacted by numerous concerned residents over a reported increase in artifice burglaries across Ilford and Wanstead.
According to one, who wished to remain anonymous, a man in full Thames Water uniform has knocked at houses and asked to be let in to read the meter - once the door is open it appears a group of men then force their way into the home and begin to steal valuables.
A spokeswoman for the East Area Command - the unit responsible for policing the tri-borough area of Redbridge, Havering and Barking and Dagenham - confirmed to the Recorder that Redbridge Police were aware of three such incidents since October 1.
She added: "Three distraction burglaries have been reported between October 1 and November 12.
"They are pretending to be council workers, people checking for damp or drains."
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A Thames Water spokesman confirmed the company was working with the authorities to try and work out the exact circumstances surrounding one incident where a burglar appeared to be wearing full company uniform before entering a house and stealing from it.
He told the Recorder: "We're aware of an incident of someone falsely claiming to be a Thames Water worker to gain access to a property and we're helping police with their enquires."
The Police UK website also provides tips to residents on how best to avoid falling prey to artifice burglars.
It says: "If you're not sure who is at your door, don't open it.
"Check the identity of the caller by calling the company they are claiming to be from i.e. gas, electricity, water and police.
"Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider - do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller - they may be bogus.
"The 'Waterboard' no longer exists, it is an obsolete phrase used only by bogus callers."
Anyone with any information on artifice burglaries being carried out in the Redbridge area should contact the Metropolitan Police on 101.