From time to time, the Town Council receives advice from Suffolk Constabulary, often through Police Connect and from other sources. Don’t just read the latest item – look through the others as well – there’s plenty of sound advice in these articles.
We have added a page on how to protect yourself against scams.
Still the scams keep coming!
13 June 2017
Police are reminding residents to be alert for telephone scams after an incident in Ipswich.
On Monday 12th June, an elderly man received a phone call from someone saying they were from the tax office and that the resident owed money. He was then told he would be arrested unless he purchased £500 of iTunes vouchers. The elderly resident suspected something wasn’t right and reported the incident to police.
Police have also received reports of scam tax emails being sent telling people that they have a tax rebate and to log on to a website with their details.
Fraudsters are contacting the elderly & vulnerable claiming to be from HM Revenue & Customs and victims are being told that they have arrest warrants, outstanding debts or unpaid taxes in their name. If you receive a suspicious cold call, end it immediately and report it to police. HMRC will never use texts to tell you about a tax rebate or penalty and will never ask for payment in this way.
Telephone numbers and text messages can easily be spoofed. You should never trust the number you see on your telephones display.
11 June 2017
Police are warning the public that with the increased use of bicycles over summer, the threat of bicycle thefts also increases. In 2016 Suffolk police recorded over 1000 incidents of bicycle theft, many of them by criminals specifically targeting high value bikes.
If you own a bicycle, don’t make yourself an easy victim. Act on the following advice, and you will be less likely to lose your bike this summer:
- Invest in a good quality lock for your bicycle – D locks are the most effective and a worthwhile investment
- Use a lock to secure the bike-stand, wheel rim and frame together – making it more difficult for a thief to take
- Never leave your bike unlocked in a public place – leaving it unattended even for a minute can mean it is gone when you return
- Find a suitable location to leave and secure your bike – dark alleys, drain-pipes and posts are all best avoided
- Take a photo of your bicycle and record the make/model and unique serial number (usually found under the frame at the base of the bike).
- Security mark your bike and register it using a third party service such as IMMOBILISE to further protect it.
- Consider using a low cost electronic bike tagging system such as IMMOBITAG (linked to the IMMOBILISE registration service)
- Overnight, inside the home is the most secure location to store your bike. Bikes kept in garages and sheds in particular should be properly secured, for example to a suitable secure ground anchor.
Further security information can be obtained on :
Security marking at http://www.suffolk.police.uk/advice/home-safety/property-marking
Ground anchor systems at http://securityforbikes.com/torc-ground-anchor-certifications.php
Business News: website pages
31 May 2017
Suffolk Constabulary have launched a business news page on their website, replacing their monthly newsletter only sent to subscribers.
County Policing Commander Jennifer Eves said:
I am delighted that we are able to improve our communication with Suffolk’s business community. By having a live service on our website we can update the information making it more timely, relevant and useful. In addition the interactive Twitter account will enable more people to join in a conversation and share issues that are important to them. Do sign up and follow us @SPBusinessNews.
Good weather brings out the thieves…….
19 April 2017
As the days become longer and warmer with the promise of summer, Suffolk Police are reminding residents to protect their homes against opportunistic thieves. Warmer weather can bring with it offenders on the look-out for lapses in security, such as open doors and windows, particularly when valuables are left on display. In fact, since January 2016 at least 29% of burglaries in Suffolk have been as a result of an unlocked door or open window.
Detective Superintendent Andy Smith said: “At this time of year, burglars know that many of us will want to open windows and doors to let the fresh air in, even when we’re in the garden. As a result, we tend to see more burglaries in the warmer months as homes are left more insecure. Thieves typically look for the easy option by looking for gaps in security and are often not afraid to try door locks. I would urge residents to look at their home security through a thief’s eye to prevent them from becoming an easy target. For instance, if you can pull your front door handle down from the inside, so can a burglar.”
19 April 2017
Suffolk is being targeted by various rogue traders at the moment. Here are the details so that you can help to warn others.
Since the beginning of the year we have received a large number of complaints from residents who own solar panels, with energy saving companies claiming they have an energy saving device that will save them money, or offering to check their ‘system’ for free. In the last month, two elderly residents were contacted by such companies, convincing them that they and their properties were at risk. One victim was told the lid to her water tank was loose, which ran the risk of overflowing onto the electrics in the house, and electrocuting her. The resident was told they would need to pay the company £7,500 up front in cash, and that work would need to start as soon as possible. The victim went straight to the bank to withdraw the money, but fortunately the bank staff contacted Suffolk Trading Standards before any money was passed over.
On Tuesday last week we received reports of 5 men in a van going door-to-door offering to clean driveways in and around Felixstowe.
On Wednesday last week, Trading Standards responded to a report, again from vigilant staff at a local bank, advising us that an elderly man from Felixstowe had come in to withdraw £4,000. This was on top of £2,000 he had withdrawn the day before. The money was to be paid to traders (three men) who had called at his property offering to undertake guttering work. They had then indicated that his chimney was loose, and the whole roof needed replacing. Trading Standards is now investigating.
On Thursday last week we received reports of Nottingham Knockers calling at doors in the Chantry area of Ipswich. If they call at your door, please report them to Suffolk Police online or via 101.
Help us keep our communities safe by reporting any suspicious activity. Please use the following link to pass useful information to Suffolk Police about any incident: https://www.suffolk.police.uk/contact-us/report-something/report-crime DO NOT USE THIS LINK IN AN EMERGENCY OR IN A SITUATION THAT REQUIRES AN IMMEDIATE POLICE RESPONSE WHEN YOU SHOULD RING 999. To report information anonymously on any crime, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
1 March 2017
Police are warning members of the public to be vigilant after a Suffolk resident was telephoned by scammers last week.
On Thursday 23 February a female resident in Woodbridge received a phone call from an offender claiming to be a police officer from Ipswich Police Station. They were told that somebody was trying to tamper with her bank account and that he needed to put a stop on her account.
The victim was unsure if she had given the caller her bank details, but on checking with her bank no fraudulent activity has taken place on her account
Residents should remember the following:
- Your bank or the police will never ask for your PIN, bank card or bank account details over the phone – never give these details out.
- If you receive such a call leave the landline for at least five minutes to make an outside call. Fraudsters will keep the line open and have been known to play ring tones, hold music and a recorded message down the phone so the victim believes they are making a call to a legitimate number.
- Use a friend or neighbour’s telephone instead.
- Friends, family, carers and neighbours are asked to spread the word to ensure everyone is aware of this scam and what they should do.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of fraud should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. You can also report a fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk
How to avoid a pensions scam
16 February 2016
A pension scam – when someone tries to con you out of your pension money – will often start by someone contacting you unexpectedly about:
- an investment or other business opportunity that you’ve not spoken to them about before
- taking your pension money before you’re 55
- the ways that you can invest your pension money
If someone contacts you unexpectedly and says they can help you access your pot before the age of 55 it’s likely to be a scam.
You may be offered a tempting way to invest your pension pot, eg investing it in a new hotel being built in an exotic location. Most of these offers are fake but can appear very convincing. Their aim is to get you to cash in your pension pot and transfer the money.
Once you’ve transferred your money into a scam, it’s too late. You could lose all your pension money as well as face tax of up to 55% or huge additional fees.
See Government advice page.
15 December 2017
Action Fraud has received several reports from victims who have been sent convincing looking emails claiming to be from Amazon. The spoofed emails from “service(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)amazon.co.uk” claim recipients have made an order online and mimic an automatic customer email notification.
The scam email claims recipients have ordered an expensive vintage chandelier. Other reported examples include: Bose stereos, iPhone’s and luxury watches.
The emails cleverly state that if recipients haven’t authorised the transaction they can click on the help centre link to receive a full refund. The link leads to an authentic-looking website, which asks victims to confirm their name, address, and bank card information.
Amazon says that suspicious e-mails will often contain:
- Links to websites that look like Amazon.co.uk, but aren’t Amazon.co.uk.
- Attachments or prompts to install software on your computer.
- Typos or grammatical errors.
- Forged (or spoofed) e-mail addresses to make it look like the e-mail is coming from Amazon.co.uk.
Amazon will never ask for personal information to be supplied by e-mail.
You can read more about identifying suspicious emails claiming to be from Amazon by visiting https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201489210
General warning: no reputable company will ever ask for banking details or passwords, by email or by phone. If in doubt, ring the company (but never the number given in the email or the phone message).
Details of another scam affecting solicitors and the purchase of property may be viewed here (courtesy of the Guardian).
December 7th 2016
Police are appealing for witnesses and urging communities to be vigilant following a series of break-ins across west Suffolk. There have been 26 burglaries across Forest Heath, St Edmundsbury, Mid Suffolk and Babergh since 1 December which are similar in nature and detectives are exploring how many of them may be linked.
These crimes have typically taken place in rural locations, between the early afternoon and evening, at properties where the occupants have not been at home, and involved the offenders forcing entry. The items that are mainly being stolen are cash, jewellery and electrical items. As the majority of the burglaries in this series involve houses being entered by force rather than because of insecurities, police are urging members of the public to be their eyes and ears and ‘See it, Hear it, Report it’.
Detective Inspector Andrew Smethurst, Western Area CID, said:
“We are appealing for local communities to be on the look-out for any suspicious behaviour in their villages and neighbourhoods and not to disregard persons or vehicles that appear unusual or out of place. This could include a suspicious vehicle outside your neighbour’s house or hearing the sound of glass smashing nearby.
Note down the car registration number or description of any suspicious persons you may have seen and report it to us if you believe it to be unusual. These criminals may present themselves as genuine callers, so if their behaviour seems odd then let us know.”
Anyone with any information about these crimes, or who believes they may have witnessed any suspicious activity in their local community, is asked to contact Western Area CID on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The burglaries have taken place in the following locations: Badwell Ash; Bardwell; Barking; Bradfield St Clare; Brandon (x2); Bury St Edmunds; Clare (x3); Culford; Fornham All Saints; Forward Green; Great Cornard; Hundon; Kedington; Lavenham (x2); Long Melford; Mildenhall; Moulton; Needham Market (x2); Nowton; Pakenham; and Ringshall.
By following a few simple steps, you can reduce the chances of becoming a victim of burglary.
- Lock all doors and remove the keys before leaving the house. This limits the amount of escape routes available to burglars.
- Keep front doors locked even when you are at home and especially if you are in the back garden.
- Close all windows fully before you leave the house, lock downstairs windows and remove the keys.
- Use window limiters to allow air in instead of keeping windows fully open, even when you’re at home.
- Install window locks on upstairs windows that can be easily accessed by a flat roof.
- Lock back gates using a sturdy lock such as a closed shackle padlock to no less than CEN 3-4 security grade or 5 lever lock.
- Leave low-energy lights on timers around the house and keep a radio on to make it seem as though someone is home.
- ‘Dusk-to-dawn’ sensored security lighting is a cheap, low cost way of making sure the front of your home or shed/outbuilding is well-lit.
- Burglars often prefer to work in the dark to avoid detection. Stop burglars from hiding in your driveway and paths by installing an ambient security light that will not disturb neighbours.
- Visible burglar alarms can make burglars think twice; get specialist advice and consult your insurance company.
- Hedging and shrubs to the front of your property should be pruned to no higher than 1m and trim trees up from the ground to 2m. This will allow a clear line of sight across your property and will stop the garden being used as a hiding place.
- Keep your valuables, jewellery, cash, passport and deeds to your property in a safe.
- Never leave spare keys in an open place. Hide away to prevent them being stolen.
- Keep dustbins and wheelie-bins away from fencing/gates as these can be used by thieves to climb into windows or used to escape.
- Make sure valuables are property marked. Take photographs and keep a note of any serial numbers.
- Don’t leave equipment and tools lying around that can be used by burglars to break into your home, such as hammers, shovels or gardening tools. Keep ladders locked away and out of sight.
For further crime prevention advice please visit the Suffolk Constabulary webpage www.suffolk.police.uk or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team on 101.
November 25th 2016
Police are investigating a series of house burglaries that have occurred during hours of darkness over the past 3 days in Great Cornard, Lavenham and Clare.
Properties have been entered either through insecure side or rear property windows or by forcing doors and windows, sometimes by using garden implements found on the property. Untidy searches have then been made and jewellery appears to be a main target.
Residents are advised to ensure all doors and windows are kept locked, and to use timer switches to turn on lights and radios when you are out to give the impression that your home is occupied. A house in complete darkness in the early evening is an invitation to a burglar.
- Fit secure locks to all doors and fit a door chain or bar – and use them.
- Fit and use visible window locks, including rear or side windows and those above a low roof.
- Fit ‘dusk to dawn’ lighting covering the front and rear of your property
- Fit/lock gates at the sides of your house to restrict access to the rear of your property
- Lock away ladders and garden implements
- Visible burglar alarms make burglars think twice – get specialist advice and consult your insurance company.
Please be particularly alert to strangers loitering in residential streets. If in doubt, or if you suspect a crime may be in progress, always dial 999. If you have any information that you think may assist police in relation to these crimes – please call 101.
November 16th 2016
With Christmas less than six weeks away, Suffolk Police are reminding shoppers to ensure their personal security remains a priority following a noticeable increase in thefts.
The advice comes after reports of a 21% increase in thefts from the person, in particular of mobile phones, wallets and purses, between 1 January and 30 September this year compared with the year before.
Thieves have been targeting major shopping areas, including Felixstowe, Lowestoft, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket, with repeat offences reported around the Cornhill, Tavern Street and Great Coleman Street areas of Ipswich.
Detective Superintendent Andy Smith said: “Personal theft is primarily an opportunist crime, and one which many people are unaware has occurred until later. At this time of year people often carry more money, and with many of us using our mobile phones to store personal data for online shopping, banking and social media, these can prove an attractive combination for thieves.
“A variety of tactics and distractions are used to relieve you of your personal items; dipping into a bag – often underneath a cover of a jacket or newspaper, bumping into you, distracting you so your focus is not on your property, or actively cutting the straps from your bag.
“Having your phone, wallet or purse stolen can have immediate consequences. Don’t give thieves that opportunity; by taking a few simple steps you can greatly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this type of crime.”
Preventing personal theft
- Carry wallets in an inside pocket, where possible, but never in your back pocket.
- Zip up hand and shoulder bags, and carry with the fasteners against your body to prevent a thief from dipping into it.
- Keep straps short and bags tucked under your arm, or in front of you.
- Don’t display jewellery.
- Don’t show your money — keep it safely in your pocket.
- Never leave your bags or other valuables unattended.
- Ensure any bags placed on the on the floor are in front of you so that any movement of the bag will be noticeable.
Safeguard your mobile phone
- Stay alert and aware of what’s going on around you when using your phone in public.
- If you’re not making a call, keep your phone hidden away in one of your front pockets or inside a bag.
- Always use your phone’s security code or PIN
- Keep a record of your unique reference number (IMEI). To get this, dial *#06#, which allows you to block it from being used if it is stolen.
- Download a tracking application, which could help trace your device if it’s stolen.
- Use an ultra violet property marker to write your post code and house number on valuable possessions.
- Insure your possessions and keep the insurance details handy.
Officers will be stepping up patrols in town centres in the lead up to the festive season, however if you notice anyone acting suspiciously, contact Suffolk Police on 101.
September 28th 2016
Residents are being encouraged to be on the lookout for doorstep rogue traders who may offer garden maintenance services, such as lawn cutting and hedge trimming, and then deliberately overcharge for the work.
Elderly and vulnerable people are typically being targeted and police are reminding residents to:
- never agree to buy goods from, or have work done, by someone that calls unannounced at their door, or approaches them on the street
- always get a written quotation for any work to be undertaken
- ensure the business is reputable by checking local media publications and the internet
Residents seeking reputable companies can access The Suffolk Trader Scheme which promotes the use of Checkatrade’s directory of local tradesmen who have been verified by Suffolk Trading Standards and are committed to treating their customers fairly.
If you suspect a crime is in progress always dial 999. If you would like to speak to someone about rogue traders, please contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) on 101, or Suffolk Trading Standards.
Advice is often received as a message from PoliceConnect, a free messaging service connecting you to the very latest policing news for your area via e-mail, text or phone.
2017 © Clare Town Council