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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 October, 2003, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
New crackdown on bogus callers
People can nominate a neighbour to check out the caller
A new scheme has been launched in Kent to protect elderly and vulnerable people from bogus callers.

The Nominated Neighbour scheme is being run by South East Kent Police in conjunction with Dover and Shepway District Council.

It is hoped the scheme will significantly reduce the number of distraction burglaries.

About 20,000 residents in the area are being sent a laminated notice they can give to callers they do not recognise.

People can choose a neighbour or friend who lives nearby to be a nominated person who deals with the callers.

The notice reads: "I DO NOT RECOGNISE YOU, Please go to No: __ who is my nominated neighbour. They will check your Identity and return with you."

Kent Police say genuine officials from the utility companies will not mind waiting a few extra minutes while their identity is being checked.

Safety at home

The Nominated Neighbour scheme has already been running in the Elham and Etchinghill area for a year and has been seen as a success.

Inspector Paul Ludwig, of the Strategic Crime Reduction Unit, said: "The Nominated Neighbour scheme is a simple yet effective way of ensuring people are safe in their own homes from unwanted callers and potential burglars.

"These are despicable crimes committed against the most vulnerable members of our society, and any initiative which will help to prevent the residents of South East Kent becoming victims is most welcomed."

Packs are being distributed by the Housing Departments of the local authority.

They can also be obtained at police stations and offices in Hythe, Folkestone, Dover, Deal and Sandwich.

Local Neighbourhood Watch officers and Rural Community Wardens will also be able to help.

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