General Crime Alerts/Newsletters

THIS PAGE WILL BE USED TO HIGHLIGHT CRIME WARNINGS & ECM Messages 

Have a look at the latest scams pages here too

25th July 2017

Crime report related newsletter no  385

18th July 2017

Crime report related newsletter no  384

17th July 2017

Uttlesford Crime Report

2nd July 2017

Uttlesford Crime Report

 

 



Fraudulent Wedding Services 6th June

ActionFraud are warning people planning a wedding to be particularly wary of fraudulent sites advertising wedding provisions and services. For full details and ways to reduce risks are on the ActionFraud website.

 

 Car Thefts of Cars with Keyless Entry 29th April

Theives have been observed using an electronic device which appears to modify, relay or amplify signals between a car and its key fob to start and drive away the car. This is even though the key is safely away in the owner's house and the car is some way away on the drive. Owners are recommended to keep keyless devices in a tin or even the 'fridge to prevent the possibility of this happening. An old-fashioned steering wheel lock is also helpful both at home and when parked elsewhere if one can be found to fit.

 

Distraction Burglaries 24th April

There have been two distraction burglaries recently in the Brentwood area.

In one case two men offered tree cutting for £50. Whilst they discussed it with the householder, a third man found a way in and stole items.

In another case someone claiming to be from the council and holding an official-looking board claimed to be answering a call about rats in the householder's garage. After he left the householder noticed that her purse had gone.

 

Criminals stealing cars by persuading car vendors to let them "check out" the spare key

Police are warning members of the public of a potential scam involving people selling their vehicle. 
Suspects are responding to adverts for vehicles advertised online and in newspapers under the illusion of buying the car. The false buyers are then asking to see if the spare key is working by asking the driver for it. When the spare key is handed over and tested, a second key is given back to the owner whilst the working spare key is retained by the suspects. 
This key may later be used to either steal possessions from the vehicle or to take the vehicle itself. 

13th June 2016

Phishing attacks on students

Action Fraud reports a new phishing campaign which has hit students of UK universities claims that the student has been awarded an educational grant by the Department for Education. The email purports to have come from the finance department of the student’s university and tricks the recipient into clicking on a link contained in the message to provide personal and banking details.

12th April 2016

Faked emails which appear to come from a tradesman from whom you are expecting a bill.

Fraudsters are targeting members of the public who are expecting to make a payment for property repairs.

The fraudsters, via email, will purport to be a tradesman who has recently completed work at the property and use a similar email address to that of the genuine tradesman. They will ask for funds to be transferred via bank transfer and once payment is made the victims of the fraud soon realise they have been deceived when the genuine tradesman requests payment for their services.

8th February 2016

A scam letter is being issued to Brentwood households warning them they need to settle outstanding council tax charges.
 
The letter dated 04/02/2016 from a company calling themselves QDC Collection Agents, with a PO Box address in Macclesfield, says they owe £67.50 in late charges.
 
Brentwood Borough Council has not and has never had any affiliation with QDC collection agencies.

 

3rd December 2015

The "Your roof needs fixing" guys are still around.

One 80+ year old in Pilgrims Hatch was recently the target of this lot. They put a ladder up to his roof, broke the gutter and wanted £400 to fix their damage and a few loose tiles. He didn't pay after advice from NHW member daughter-in-law.

Not a crime but    Beware the Rutting Season

There are a lot of deer about and they are most mobile in October to December and May every year, particularly during the hours of darkness. 

Every year they cause damage to themselves and vehicles. We are advised to be particularly alert and keep well below speed limits during these times in areas where deer are common. Also to use full headlights at night until a vehicle comes the other way or a deer is spotted. Solid as deer are, we are advised that it is less dangerous for a car to hit a deer than swerve accidentally into a ditch or oncoming car.

 

Frauds and Scams

There is a separate page on this website giving details of the latest of these here

 

27 February - Bogus Trading Standards Officer

A resident in the Chelmsford town area has received a knock on the door from a man who stated that he was a Trading Standards Officer. The bogus officer told the resident that he was collecting money that was required to deal with an earlier doorstep/rogue trader case that took place some time ago. The officer was asking for £5,000 and threatening the man with arrest, via Essex Police, if the money was not paid.

The resident who has been the target of a doorstep/rogue trader in the past called Trading Standards as he was concerned about the money but did not realise at the time that the officer who had knocked was nothing to do with Trading Standards.

Essex Police and Essex County Council Trading Standards are warning residents to be aware that it is likely that this bogus officer may have called on other homes in Chelmsford or visited other areas of the County.

If you are concerned about a Trading Standards Officer or an Essex Police Officer call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506, which handles Trading Standards calls or Essex Police on 101 or 999 if appropriate.

4 February - Rogue Traders

Trading Standards Officers have attended an incident today of doorstep rogue trading at an address in Canvey where traders have targeted an elderly resident for roofing repairs.

Residents are advised never to agree to work by uninvited traders who knock on the door.

If residents are concerned or worried, call either Essex Police on 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506  

4 February - Telephone Scam

Police are issuing an urgent warning to Wickford and Basildon residents today after a number of elderly people were targeted for their cash by phone fraudsters.

The fraudsters, posing as police officers, targeted the homes in the two towns in the past week – but luckily money wasn’t taken and the calls were reported to the police.

The incidents are the latest in a series of crimes in which mainly elderly people are targeted and tricked into revealing their bank details or handing over large sums of cash.

All of the recent calls in the Basildon area were made by someone posing as a police officer from Hammersmith police station.

Essex Police ask you to share this advice with elderly neighbours and relatives:

  *   If you are suspicious about a telephone conversation you should end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101.
  *   Remember to use a mobile phone or a friend’s phone or wait at least five minutes before calling to ensure you aren’t reconnected to the offender.

Please also remember that your bank and the police would:

  *   Never ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone
  *   Never ask you to withdraw money and send it to them
  *   Never ask you to send them your bank cards or any other personal property

21 January - Hello from Action Fraud

 

This is a message sent via The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales). This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)
 
 

We are the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and financially motivated cyber crime and are run by the City of London Police, working alongside the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau. Our specialist team uses information from all of the fraud and cyber crime cases reported to us to create alerts about new types of crime or those which are increasing in severity.

Further to the message you received on the 19th December from the Neighbourhood Alerts team, we are delighted to now be working together with this network because it means that we can share our prevention alerts with you from now on. Don’t worry – we will send only a reasonable amount of these alerts to you, and only when we think that they may be relevant, in the hope that you will be able to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of this type of crime.  

Issues that we commonly see, and that we will be informing you about specifically over the coming weeks and months include the following:

• People who call to tell you that there is a problem with your bank card and that they need to collect it from you to fix the problem;
• Fraud committed by people selling event / entertainment tickets, weight-loss / teeth whitening drugs, or vehicles online;
• Fraud committed by people who cold-call thousands of people in the UK in order to sell them an investment in shares or precious metals, or who want them to invest their pension;
• People pretending to be someone they are not in order to persuade your business to send money to a new bank account to pay for an invoice;
• The activities of cyber-criminals who want to infect your computer or smartphone in order to steal your banking details or “lock” important files to prevent you from using or viewing them;
• Fraudsters who persuade people to pay a fee in advance of receiving a loan, which never appears. 

All of these can be avoided by following the simple prevention advice we will include in every alert we send you, which you will also be able to find on the Action Fraud website

We hope that you find our alerts interesting and that they can help you to keep the criminals at arm’s length.

You will also continue to receive messages as normal from the agencies who already communicate with you.

Thanks for your attention,

The Action Fraud team

If you believe you have been a victim of fraud or cybercrime, please report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

15 January Bogus Phone Calls

Detectives have issued an urgent warning to residents across Essex following a sudden surge in phone calls by fraudsters posing as police officers or bank officials.

A number of homes in the Grays, South Ockendon and Brentwood areas were targeted yesterday (Wednesday, January 14) but fortunately money wasn?t taken and the attempts were reported to the police.

The incidents are the latest in a series of crimes in which mainly elderly people are targeted and tricked into revealing their bank details or handing over large sums of cash.

Dc Nina Fletcher said: ?We had a number of incidents reported in the last 24 hours. Fortunately none of these frauds were successful but we would like to remind people to be on their guard. ?Police would never ask you for your bank details or ask you to transfer or withdraw funds. If you do receive calls like these do not fall for their claims and just put the phone down immediately and call police on 101."

It does tend to be the elderly and vulnerable who are targeted by the offenders, Essex Police is asking people please share the following advice with elderly neighbours and relatives. *If you are suspicious about a telephone conversation you should end the call and contact police via the non-emergency number, 101.Remember to use a mobile phone or a friend?s phone or wait at least five minutes before calling to ensure you aren?t reconnected to the offender.

Please also remember that your bank and the police would:

? NEVER ask for your bank account details or PIN number over the phone.

? NEVER ask you to withdraw money and send it to them.

? NEVER ask you to send them your bank cards or any other personal property.

For further advice about internet scams or frauds visit http://www.essex.police.uk/be_safe/fraud.aspx or contact your local Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor. Contact details can be found on the Essex Police homepage.

7 January 2015

The search for missing Colchester woman Aleasha Coan has been suspended this afternoon, Tuesday, January 6, following the discovery of a woman's body. The body of a woman was found in land around the University of Essex at Wivenhoe Park at around 1.25pm this afternoon. Supt Steve Ditchburn, coordinating the searches said: "The body is yet to be formally identified but Aleasha's family have been updated and our search suspended. "We are extremely grateful for the support and efforts of members of the public in connection with the searches for Aleasha." Police will now be liaising with HM Coroner.

30 December - Heating Oil thefts

Heating Oil Heating oil thefts have occurred in various parts of the county. In the more isolated parts of the countryside it is primarily domestic properties that have been targeted by the heating oil thieves, but we have also seen such thefts at farms and other businesses. There are a number of security devices available that will protect your fuel supplies - details of which can be found via your fuel supplier or local plumbers merchant. Systems such as GPRS Fuel-Oil Alarm from www.compoundsecurity.co.uk and Tank Commander -www.commandersecurities.co.uk which have Secured by Design accreditation; these detect a dramatic drop in fuel and calls you on the telephone. There are also other systems that will add on to an existing intruder alarm system, whilst others protect the filler cap and there are of course the conventional locks.

Ensure the oil gauge is secured correctly to the tank. It is worth spending a little more on good quality locks. Close shackle padlocks are the best as they offer most resistance to thieves. Close shackle padlocks have very little of the metal hoop exposed and bolt croppers cannot get a good grip. If your tank has a lid design, consider fitting suitable locks and/or lockable valves. Always check when you have had a delivery so you have a starting point of the level of oil in the tank.

Monitor your oil tank on a regular basis for any signs of tampering and also alert you quickly to any problems you may have. As mentioned above remote electronic oil level gauges are available which will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls.

If you see any suspicious activity around fuel tanks or have any information regarding thefts of oil please call 101 or 999 if judged urgent.

For further advice and information contact your local Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor on 101. 

Any enquiries or information that you have concerning any item/s contained in this bulletin should be sent to John McAdams at nhwbulletins@gmail.com and also copied to Steve Armson- Smith (Crime Reduction Officer) at Stephen.Armson-Smith@essex.pnn.police.uk

18 December - Robbery in Burnham on Crouch - appeal for witnesses

A man went into Ladbrokes in Station Road just before 8.25pm on Sunday, December 14, 2014 and threatened a member of staff with what is believed to have been a shotgun. Further details and CCTV images can be viewed at

http://www.essex.police.uk/news_features/homepage_latest_news/cctv_released_after_armed_robb.aspx

26 November

Crime Report Uttlesford NW

 A report received from one of our members;  

I have just heard about a cheeky theft in Wicken Bonhunt when 2 non-English men took a crate of beer and a tub of ice cream from a garage on Monday (24th) afternoon around 3.30pm.  

The owner heard the garage door being shut when he was in his lounge and on investigation saw two men walking down the drive with the beer and ice cream under their arms. He followed them into the woods behind the Meads where they were supping their goodies! He retrieved his precious beer but left them the ice cream - only later when he did a proper search did he discover two bottles of Moet had gone too......

 

The owner described them very well - one 30ish with very little hair and a hair lip making him quite distinguishable, the other 20ish with hair like "Rory MacIlroy" curly but quite fair. Both about 6ft. He said the 30 year old had a harsh European accent (almost like Russian) whilst the 20 year old was softly spoken (almost like French) but as they had hastily communicated with each other on the owner's approach, they obviously spoke the same language!  

The owner, anxious to seek his Moet, took a walk through the woods yesterday, but there was no evidence of them being in the area - no rubbish, cans etc. He has reported it to police. Following the thefts from Arkesden last week, they may still be in the district.  

KEEP WATCH - BE ALERT

20 November - Missing person Alert


Police are appealing for help from the public to find a man missing from his home in Finchingfield.

Concern is growing for the welfare of Michael BELL who was last seen at his home in the village of Finchingfield at about 3pm on Tuesday November 18th. Mr BELL is described as 57 years old, white, British, 5' 10''  in height, medium build, wit short grey hair and beard, blue eyes and wear glasses. He was wearing black `Ski` style jacket, blue jumper and jeans and brown boots. Mr BELL has  access to a black Nissan Note index number EX11EOO.

Mr BELL is known to enjoy being in open countryside and may have parked his car and gone walking anywhere in the Finchingfield area.He also enjoys being beside the sea and enjoyed walking regularly on beaches or promenades at Frinton, Walton and West Mersea. He has enjoyed trips to Burnham-on-Crouch and Southend.

Anyone who has seen Mr Bell or his car, or has any information concerning Mr BELLS movements or whereabouts should contact the Duty Inspector at Braintree Police Station on 101 or in an emergency call 999.

13 October - Alarm Company making misleading Claims

We have had at least one incident in Southend where an alarm company has cold called residents claiming to be working with Essex Police and Group 4 Security and stating that they are providing free security surveys with offers of low price monitored burglar alarm systems. The approach follows the pattern that similar cold calling firms have used in the past - i.e. supplying sub-standard alarm systems with over priced monitoring subscriptions. 

Recipients of such calls are strongly advised to terminate the call without entering into any conversation and to report the call to Consumer Direct on 0845 04 05 06. Anyon wishng to have an alarm system fitted to their property is strongly advised to contact their local Crime Prevention Tactical Adviser via 101 in the first instance

Essex Community Messaging Logo

5 October 

OPERATION MERMAID

Operation Mermaid takes place on 8th October at MOTO services J31 M25 and will involve Essex Police Casualty Reduction Section and the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). 

The operation will focus on commercial vehicle safety and crime, specifically on the carriage of dangerous and hazardous goods.

11 August - Bogus Police alert

There have been further incidents of a bogus police officer cold calling elderly residents by telephone. In an incident in Felsted the  victim was told  that his bank card had been cloned and that he should have it ready for collection by a courier later in the day. The courier whilst collecting the card asked for the pin number and then went onto remove a substantial amount of cash from the victim’s bank account.

In the second incident at Hadleigh, a person claiming to be a Metropolitan Police officer asked the target to remove £6000 from his account for forensic investigation. In the latter incident, the target was suitably wellinformed to recognise the call as a criminal attempt

4 August Bogus Caller alert

Anglian Water is urging extra caution over possible bogus callers in Essex after Anglian Water branded work clothing was stolen during a burglary at one of its sites.

The company is working with Essex Polic to track down the thief, who was caught on CCTV cameras breaking in to the site.

The company is also encouraging customers in Essex to be watchful of anyone claiming to be from the water company, and to report to the police anyone who claims to be from the company but cannot provide identification when asked.

Antony Innes, from Anglian Water, said: “The message is simple: be on your guard, and if in doubt, check.

“Every single genuine Anglian Water employee always carries their ID with them, and will be very happy to wait while a customer inspects this card and calls us on 0800 145 145 to verify the person is who they say they are, any time, day or night.

“If you are not expecting a visit from us, or suspect the person at your door is not who they say they are, then please call us to check. Our freephone number is manned 24/7 and our staff will never pressure you to enter your home.

“There is no need to be embarrassed, and our staff expect to challenged on the doorstep.”

Distraction robberies are an ever present problem and many criminals continue to say they are from ‘the Water Board’ – even though these have not existed for over 20 years.

Mr Innes added: “While on the phone, we will be able to describe the person on your doorstep and give you their unique number. Only a genuine Anglian Water employee will be able to tell you what their unique number is and if they can’t then the advice is simple. Don’t let them in and call the police.

“Those who want additional security can also register a password with us so that any time one of our representatives visits your home they will show you their identity card and will also be able to tell you the password you have registered.” 

 

17 July We have been advised that people in Shoebury have been receiving calls from an 01384 phone code area (which is in the Midands), offering to carry out security surveys. This is most certainly a scam in all probability originating abroad. Anyone receiving such a call is strongly advised to terminate the call withiout giving away any personal details, address etc and report the matter to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 and to your telephone provider

17 June WARNING: Please take extra caution when using ATM’s

 The Rayleigh Neighbourhood Policing Team are asking residents to take extra caution when using ATM machines, as two separate ATM’s along Rayleigh High Street were compromised with the below card slot jamming devise on Friday 13th June.  

The device makes it appear to the user that the card has been swallowed by the machine and often someone peering over your shoulder – they are trying to see you enter your pin. 

Therefore please ensure that you cover your PIN number and always use your free hand to cover the keypad as you enter your PIN. This will prevent any prying eyes or hidden cameras from seeing your pin.

 image001

Be aware of your surroundings and be wary of people standing very close to you or who appear to be looking over your shoulder and do not get distracted be particularly cautious if ‘well meaning’ strangers try to distract you or offer to help you.  Ideally try to avoid street ATM’s and if you can actually use ATM’s provided in the bank. Most importantly, discreetly put your money and card away before leaving the cash machine and take the receipt with you.

 

If you notice anything unusual about the machine or there are signs of tampering, do not use it and report it to the bank as soon as possible. If an incident occurs at the ATM, including if your cash or cards get trapped within the machine, report it to the bank immediately. Make sure you have the 24 hours telephone number for your card issuer available.

12 June Can you identify the burglary suspect shown below

He queued at Thaxted Post Office before reaching the counter and attempting an armed robbery.

The hooded suspect, armed with a kitchen knife, waited behind two other customers before threatening staff at the High Street Post Office at around 1pm on Wednesday May 21. He fled empty-handed soon afterwards. Other customers were not aware that the man had pulled his top partially over his face and that he was holding a long-bladed knife at his side but the CCTV image clearly shows the weapon.

Investigating officers now hope that although the man tried to conceal his identity, someone could name him or may have seen him hanging around before the incident or running away afterward. DS Becky Young of Braintree CID said: “We have carried out extensive enquiries but we have not been able to establish the identify of this man. “He was clearly quite calm enough to queue behind other customers but luckily he appears to have lost his nerve when he tried to threaten staff. “There is no doubt that he is a dangerous person who is prepared to carry a long-bladed kitchen knife for use in crime and we want to catch him before he can attempt this sort of crime again.”

Anyone who can identify the man from the CCTV image or anyone who remembers him waiting in the area or running away should contact officers at Braintree CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

image001

 

11 June The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued some advice on how to remove Android-Trojan.Koler.A Malware that displays a warning message which appears to come from the police Click here for more details

7 June - Deception by Artifice 

In The Belvoir, Ingatestone last week, a well-dressed man called house-to-house, advising people their 50  year old roofs might well need re-roofing.

At one house, he told the owner a roof tile was missing – then inspected the roof and told him the whole area was damp and that £50,000 of work was required. He then arranged for a courier to take the owner to his bank, when the owner withdrew £13,700 and passed the cash to this trader as a down payment. On hearing nothing further from the ‘roofer’, he then reported the incident to the police. Sadly the owner in this case is not a well man, so these criminals, preying on the frail & elderly, managed to ‘steal’ this not inconsiderable sum from him. 

Trading Standards and the police issue the same advice with unsolicited callers of this type. Do not deal with cold callers offering for example, roof repairs. 

9 April Nottingham Knockers Police in South East Essex are warning residents to be mindful of whom they open their front doors to. Door-to-door salespeople have a habit of turning up in the middle of your favourite TV programme and can be very difficult to get rid of once you’ve opened the door to them. But local police have recently become aware that a group of young salesmen, dubbed the ‘Nottingham Knockers’, have been targeting our part of the county. 

Named after a scam originating in Nottingham, young people travel across the UK targeting a town at a time. They knock at doors and claim to be ex-convicts attempting to mend their ways, before trying to sell the householder everyday household products at very high prices.  

Police always advise residents to refrain from buying at the doorstep and not to buckle to pressure from salespeople offering supposedly one-off, ‘buy it now’, low prices. However, often kind-hearted residents feel they are helping the Nottingham Knockers to turn their lives around so agree to buy their wares.  

Insp Andy Clarkson commented: “These Nottingham Knockers work in groups across the country but they are not involved in any officially recognised offender rehabilitation programme and many do not possess pedlar’s certificates, which are issued by police and are necessary for salespeople to be legally allowed to sell door-to-door. Sympathetic members of the public are being duped into buying cheap products at highly-inflated prices and, indeed, on analysis of crime data, some UK regions have discovered a notable rise in crime during the times their local areas were being visited by this group. 

”If a salesperson comes to your door, we’d suggest you ask to see their peddler’s certificate - these are only issued to individuals under very strict conditions. You can contact the police station it was issued by in order to prove if it’s genuine. If a Nottingham Knocker visits you, please inform police in order for us to keep track of where they are.” 

If you have any information which you think might be of help, please call Essex Police on 101 and state that you would like to report a Pedlar.

2 April There are reports in the national media of a number of websites that have been set up to carry out the sort of services that the Direct Gov website provides. These include passport renewals, car tax disc renewals etc. Each has a service charge which can range from £40 for a tax disc renewal to £99 for passports. This is in addition to the standard government fee. One site has even cloned the legitimate government site to make it look more credible. Details can be seen at http://cars.aol.co.uk/2014/04/02/motorists-duped-out-of-40-by-misleading-tax-renewal-websites/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cuk-ws-bb%7Cdl4%7Csec3_lnk4%26pLid%3D254390 Caution should be exercised when renewing on line as some of these sites do not allow a cooling off period as laid down by the Consumer Credit Act. 

2 April A resident in Saffron Walden recently received an unsolicited phone call from a firm based in the Midlands who claim to be running an initiative which gives home owners some guarantee of emergency cover from the police, fire etc. This firm has operated for a number of years under different trading names offering products and equipment, which, on the face of it look like bargains. They are in fact not waht they seem as  there are astronomical hidden monitoring charges which only become evident once the victim has signed on the dotted line, so to speak. Anyone receiving such a call should terminate it without providing any personal details whatsoever. They should notify the Consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 so that Trading Standards can be notified

28 March A Southend Neighbourhood Watch member sent the following warning re passport renewal rip off

I suddenly realized I needed to renew my passport to go to Portugal in May. My wife,  left a note to say that time was running out so I should do it online, today. PANIC! I went on the web and clicked on the top search address which turned out not to be the .gov.uk site. Effectively I was conned by the site design, helped by the Search Engine ranking. So I learned a lesson that cost me £69. The simple advice is to only use websites that end in .gov.uk for things like passport or similar documents. These sites are strictly not illegal, just a little unethical!!!

24 March A co-ordinator has just reported that she received the following  phone call, from an International number, the gist was that the male caller (with a foreign accent) was from the technical support of Windows re my computer saying there was a problem on it and he could sort it, so would she  please go and put her computer on, click on 'My Computer' and follow his instructions to resolve the issue. What would follow would be a piece of code which would then take control of the hard drive, allow the criminal access to the address book, passwords and even on line banking. Anyone receiving such a call, should terminate the call immediately, and most certainly not enter any code or internet adresses onto the computer at the behest of the caller

21 March Southend CSP has issued an warning following reports of scam where bogus bank officials/Metropolitan Police Officers  have cold-called elderly residents and convinced them to withdraw large sums of money for forensic purposes. Full details of the scam can be seen at http://southendcdrp.co.uk/crime_updates.php#Urgent210314