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Crime Prevention Blog November 2019

By Published November 07, 2019

In his series of monthly blogs to help keep you safer, Gerry McBride discusses the often intimidating "doorstep callers".

Doorstep Crime

I gave a talk recently where I spoke to a number of people, many of whom were telling me about doorstep callers, saying that they were often answering the door to people selling items, claiming that they are ex-offenders working on a probation scheme.

This is a scam! Probation services do no operate such schemes.


These bogus callers often target people who are elderly or vulnerable.

As well as trying to sell items at the door, others may try various methods of conning their way into your home; they are very convincing, and they might state things like: ‘My son has kicked his ball into your garden’, ‘I’ve broken down’, ‘can I use your toilet?’, ‘have a glass of water?’ ‘I’m from the Water Board’, ‘I’ve lost my dog’, ‘I’m with the Council’ and so on it goes. 


Don’t be tempted to employ workmen who call at your door. They may tempt you with ‘bargain offers’ or say you require building/garden work.

Don’t deal with them!  Contact a reputable firm (Local Councils and Charities can often assist with recommending approved contractors). 


Check on your neighbours, friends and family who might be vulnerable to this type of offence, and offer them these tips, for guarding against people who might be out to con them/you.


  • Get into the habit of checking who is at the door. If you’re not expecting anyone, consider whether you should answer the door at all.
  • Use a door viewer (spy hole) or shout through the letterbox. 
  • Consider fitting one of the many doorbell type cameras available. Some of these systems providers charge a monthly fee for a subscription service, for storing images, so check out the various types and reviews before you buy.
  • If you can, go to a window and deal with visitors there, as it’s a lot easier to dismiss unwanted callers from the safety of your home. 
  • If you do decide to open the door – use the chain or a door bar    
  • Don’t keep savings or other large amounts of money in your home - use a bank or building society.   
  • Remember – if you’re not sure – don’t open the door!  

Bogus callers come in all shapes, ages and sizes, they may be male or female, and often work in pairs, whilst one is distracting you; the other is searching through your belongings. Protect yourself and your home – keep them out!

Remember – Lock, Chain, Check!

If you have any information about a crime contact the police on 101 or CrimeStoppers on 0800 555111.


Gerry McBride
Crime Prevention Officer
Cleveland Police

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