A WARNING has been issued to people in South Oxfordshire and the Vale of White Horse amid a rise in reports of distraction burglaries.

Julia Williams, part of South Oxon and Vale’s neighbourhood policing team, has provided some advice about the crime trend to residents.

Distraction burglaries take a variety of forms - but typically involve a thief gaining access to a property under false pretences (for example, pretending to be from a council or gas company).

Ms Williams said: “Never open your door to someone you don’t know or aren’t expecting. Most callers are genuine, but it’s important to be on your guard. Always make sure a caller is who they say they are before letting them into your home.

“Distraction burglars may try to trick their way into your home by posing as officials or playing for sympathy by asking for help, such as to use your toilet or phone. These people often work in pairs or groups. The caller will try to distract you so their partner can sneak into your home to steal.

“Genuine callers will be happy to show you their identification or call back when someone else is at home with you, so always ask if you’re unsure."

She added: “If you are a pensioner, have a disability or impairment, you may be able to set up a password with your energy provider to help protect you further.”

Victims of crime should call 101.