VULNERABLE members of the community are being encouraged to nominate a neighbour to act as a contact for callers at the door.
Co-ordinated by Safer Ryedale, the scheme aims to recruit the help of friends, relatives, a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, Warden or parish councillor who lives nearby, to check whether unexpected callers are genuine.
If the caller is genuine, the nominated neighbour can then accompany them back to the vulnerable person’s house.
Callers who are not genuine tend not to bother to go to the nominated address. The scheme means that the vulnerable person does not have to open the door to people they do not know or engage in conversation with them, this reduces fear of crime and protects them from distraction burglary.
Inspector Andy Everitt, from Ryedale police, said: "The majority of people at risk from distraction burglars or rogue traders can deal with them simply by using the lock, stop, chain, check procedure."
LOCK - both front and back doors, even when at home.
STOP – if you’re not expecting anyone look through a window or spy hole first.
CHAIN – if you decide to open the door, put your chain on first and keep it on while you’re talking.
CHECK - double check their identity. If in doubt, keep them out.
He added: "However there are some people who are particularly vulnerable. They have a right to live safely in their homes, but may not have the confidence to deal robustly with callers at their door.
"This scheme is aimed at these vulnerable people and we are looking for friends in their street to support them by helping them to deal with unwanted or unexpected callers. If you have an elderly or vulnerable neighbour, then please come forward as a ‘Nominated Neighbour’ for them.”
Terry Wallis, Area Co-Ordinator for Neighbourhood Watch for Kirkbymoorside and surrounding villages, said: "Door step crime involving bogus callers and workmen is one of the most disturbing, challenging and unwanted criminal activities that we face at present, no doubt fuelled by our current economic situation.
"It is despicable that these criminals prey upon our elderly and vulnerable members of society and commit distraction burglaries or otherwise rob them of substantial sums of money – often their life savings – by convincing them that repairs are urgently required to their properties and then charge inflated prices.
He added: "It has even been known for some criminals to make notes of the current mental state of health of persons on whom they are calling, so that when their dementia etc worsens these people will be programmed as potential targets."
The Nominated Neighbour Cards can be downloaded from the Safer Ryedale website at or you may request a copy from Gail Cook, Community Partnerships Officer Tel: 01653 600666 Ext: 314 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org