New project to help vulnerable residents

TWO schemes will be launched in Essex tomorrow to beat the schemers who prey on vulnerable residents.Advertisements on the back of buses around the county, alerting people with elderly relatives to be aware of distraction burglars, will mark the start of a month-long campaign.

By Sharon Asplin

TWO schemes will be launched in Essex tomorrow to beat the schemers who prey on vulnerable residents.

Advertisements on the back of buses around the county, alerting people with elderly relatives to be aware of distraction burglars, will mark the start of a month-long campaign.

This forms part of a regional crackdown across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Hertfordshire which will be launched officially in Ipswich on March 18.

Essex Crime Reduction Inspector Dave Northcott said: "Distraction burglary and rogue trading, where inflated prices are charged for unnecessary work, causes misery to the victims and this is part of an ongoing and concerted effort to rid Essex from the cruel and wicked perpetrators of this type of crime."

In addition to the bus advertisements, there will be thousands of leaflets distributed offering advice on how to combat these crimes and keep criminals out.

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Insp Northcott added: "Elderly and vulnerable people tend to forget the advice given to them and we aim to increase awareness of this fact by this scheme."

Another project available for the vulnerable is the nominated neighbour scheme, which has been trialled in the north of the county and is being launched in Chelmsford tomorrow, in conjunction with Chelmsford Crime Reduction Group.

Chelmsford Crime reduction officer Kathy Payne said: "If you have an elderly or vulnerable relative that you are personally unable to look out for, then this scheme is ideal."

It involves the use of a large yellow card being shown to an unrecognised caller by the resident, asking him or her to call at a nominated neighbour's address and if necessary, he or she will be accompanied while at the person's home.

The East Anglian Daily Times has also launched its own campaign "Safe in Your Home" in a bid to help police crackdown on bogus callers.

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