Jail bogus callers says victim
DECORATED war veteran Dick Smith has called for conmen to be jailed for their crimes after he fell victim to bogus water board officials.Mr Smith, 84, said: “In my day punishment was punishment.
DECORATED war veteran Dick Smith has called for conmen to be jailed for their crimes after he fell victim to bogus water board officials.
Mr Smith, 84, said: “In my day punishment was punishment.”
“Today if a bloke does an offence they send him on holiday and the poor person who was knocked about is the one who is jailed. I would make the punishment fit the crime and send them to jail.”
The callous conmen struck on Wednesday at about 12.45pm - just a day after the nation fell silent to remember fallen soldiers on Armistice Day.
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Mr Smith had a wallet containing up to £70 stolen while he was cooking his roast beef lunch in his flat in the Woodbridge area.
His brother, Michael Smith, 67, said: “Because of our age difference I look on Dick as a father figure. To me it is as though they have robbed my father, that is how I feel.”
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A man appeared at Mr Smith's door and claimed to be from the water board and said he needed to test the water pressure. Mr Smith admitted he did not ask for any identity and he let the man in.
“He fiddled about with the taps and then he said he wanted to see the stopcock. I told him and said he would have to move some things to get to it. He asked me to move them and as I was getting hot under the collar I told him to move it.
“Then another fella arrived. I had left the back door open and the two muttered something and then he disappeared. I was getting browned off - I wanted me dinner - and I flew at the one left and said fancy coming at this time of the day when people are having their dinner.”
The man left and Mr Smith discovered his wallet, left in the lounge, had been stolen. He rushed out but was unable to see the con men and he went to his brother's home nearby and the police were called.
Mr Smith said he was lucky that they did not steal all his war medals, photographs and a certificate recognising outstanding service in the north west Europe campaign.
Mr Smith, who was born in Witnesham, was a sergeant in the Second World War. He was initially a member of the Royal Horse Artillery. During the war he was in charge of a 25lb gun on a Sherman tank and served with the 7th Desert Rats.
Mr Smith was awarded the Africa Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star, Defence Medal, 39-45 Star and War Medal 39-45 Star.
The brothers are sons of the late Vic Smith, an actor who starred in A Requiem for a Village film. Mr Smith worked for Haymills builders before his retirement. His wife Barbara died last year.
Earlier in the day the two con men had gone to Churchman Close, Melton, at 12.20pm where they entered a property after telling the 82-year-old woman there had been a burst pipe. Nothing appears to have been stolen.
The men are described as white and wore dark clothing. One was aged in his late teens, stocky and with dark hair. He had a round face and non-local accent. The other was aged in his mid 20s and clean-shaven.
Police believe the men could have travelled in a dark blue saloon car being driven by a third man.
The East Anglian Daily Times, Suffolk police and other agencies joined forces to launch a Safe In Your Home campaign to raise awareness of bogus callers. Police have also renewed appeals for residents not to let strangers into their homes and they urged them to follow the Stop, Chain, Check advice, to stop and think if you are expecting anyone, put the door chain on if you have one, or take a look at the caller from a window. Always check the identity of the person and call the police if you are suspicious.
Officers are also asking neighbours to keep an eye on older residents.
Anyone who saw anyone acting suspiciously is asked to call Woodbridge CID on 01473 613500 also for details about crime prevention measures.