Age Concern launches new campaign

AGE Concern in Colchester has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of bogus callers who target elderly and vulnerable people.The move comes just days after three men were re-bailed in connection with the death of a 90-year-old-woman who had fallen prey to "distraction burglars".

AGE Concern in Colchester has launched a new campaign to raise awareness of bogus callers who target elderly and vulnerable people.

The move comes just days after three men were re-bailed in connection with the death of a 90-year-old-woman who had fallen prey to "distraction burglars".

The men, two who are aged 18 and one aged 19, and all from the Colchester area, are due to answer their bail at Colchester police station on Wednesday, December 10.

They were arrested in connection with the death of Thelma Avis, of Barn Hall Avenue, who died hours after £1,000 was stolen from her home by conmen in July.

In response to her death the East Anglian Daily Times relaunched its "Safe In Your Home" campaign.

Peter Simpson, of Age Concern, said her death had focussed minds on the vulnerability of many older people to bogus callers.

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"While the crime is not classed as high volume, it has a disproportionately severe effect upon its victims," he said.

He added that research conducted with the council showed there were 26,500 pensioners living in Colchester borough of which 8,406 – mainly widows – lived alone.

Age Concern is beginning its campaign with the distribution of about 8,000 'Bogus Caller Packs' through local clubs, its own shops in Colchester and Tiptree, council offices, libraries and churches.

As well as leaflets and information, the packs contain a plastic "wobbler" which can be attached to the door to remind people to 'STOP – CHAIN – CHECK' before they open the door.

Mr Simpson and colleagues were at the Lion Walk Activity Centre where, as well as giving out the packs, they also judged the Marks and Spencer Retired Staff Association's fancy hat competition.

"For this phase of the campaign we have already been given a grant of £1,000 from Colchester Borough Council Crime Reduction Partnership and generous donations from Dawson Eyecare Ltd, Ridgeons Builders Merchants, Colchester and East Essex Co-op and the Age Concern Colchester Caring Fund."

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