Neighbourhood Watch Updates:
Update: 18/03/2021 9788 Somerset: Prolific burglars, robbers and thieves to be fitted with GPS tags in Avon and Somerset.
Avon and Somerset Police is one of six forces taking part in a world-first scheme involving burglars, thieves and robbers being made to wear GPS tags on release from prison.
With more than half of those convicted of theft and burglary reoffending within a year, this will be a vital extra source of intelligence to help police catch these persistent offenders.
Under new rules, offenders committing acquisitive crimes that have served a prison sentence of a year or more will be automatically fitted with a tag on release, allowing their whereabouts to be monitored by GPS satellites 24 hours a day for up to 12 months.
Police will work with HM Prison and Probation Service staff to investigate whether those on the tags have been in the vicinity of recent offences. It could provide the crucial evidence needed to catch the perpetrators.
The intention is the tags will also act as a deterrent, protecting the public from further burglaries and thefts and targeting so-called ‘career criminals’.
Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse MP said: “Being burgled or robbed is devastating and I understand how frustrating it is when the perpetrators can’t be caught, both for the public and the police.
“Tagging these prolific offenders so we know where they are 24 hours a day should be powerful persuasion to change their ways and will help police find and charge them if they don’t. It’s another tool helping probation staff to cut crime and keep the public safe.”
National Police Chief’s Council Electronic Monitoring Lead, Deputy Chief Constable Jon Stratford said: “Tagging prolific offenders provides a strong deterrent and means officers will be able to quickly arrest and gather evidence against anyone suspected of being involved in a robbery, burglary or other theft.
“This scheme will play a part in our overall work to prevent crime and keep our communities safe.”
DCI Dickon Turner, who leads the Integrated Offender Management team at Avon and Somerset Police, said: “We’re pleased to be one of the initial six forces taking part in this scheme and we estimate around 60 offenders will be tagged within the first six months in our force area.
“This innovative partnership approach will provide another tool we can use to help break the cycle of re-offending and reduce the amount of acquisitive crime committed.
“We know these crimes cause untold misery to victims. We believe this scheme will intensify our ability to tackle these offences head-on and bring prolific offenders to justice.”
The scheme will initially launch in six police force areas (Avon and Somerset, Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Gwent, Humberside and West Midlands) on 12 April and will be extended to a further 13 areas in September.
Police officers will be able to submit any offences they are investigating to a dedicated unit overseen by HM Prison and Probation Service. Trained staff will then be able to check the location history of those on tags against the details of the crime, allowing police to either rule out or investigate suspects further.
The joined up nature of this work builds on the recently updated Integrated Offender Management strategy, which sees police and the Probation Service working together to reduce neighbourhood crime.
Avon and Somerset Police. 16/03/2021 Criminal Damage Outbuilding.
An outbuilding has been broken into sometime on the 14th in Dommett Moor, Buckland St Mary. The offender has unlawfully entered the garden cabin causing damage to wall sockets and electrical cables in what would appear to be an act of vandalism.
Any information please contact the Police on 101 quoting Ref number: 5221055242 stating NHW Release or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Thank you for your support.
Avon and Somerset Police. 10/03/2021: Phone fraud warning after incidents reported in Somerset.
We’re reminding people to be cautious and recognise signs of telephone and courier fraud following a number of reported incidents in Somerset in recent days.
We’re investigating four reports in the Bridgwater area of fraudsters phoning potential victims and claiming to be police officers dealing with fraud.
In one instance, a woman in her 90s living in Sedgemoor, was called by a fraudster falsely claiming to be working for police in Bournemouth. He told her officers had arrested someone who had her account details and claimed her bank were involved in the scam.
He went on to encourage her to take out a four-figure sum from her bank and to lie to cashiers about why she was making such a large withdrawal, before handing it over to a ‘courier’ who would give her a password when he arrived. She duly handed the money to the fake ‘courier’ and also provided personal banking information over the phone, which led to money also being stolen from her account.
Fraud protect officer Amy Horrobin said: “Fraudsters tend to prey on the elderly and vulnerable people but anyone can be a victim. There’s no shame in being tricked by these professional criminals, they can be very convincing.
“We must stress though police will never asking you to make a withdrawal from your bank for an investigation. They will never ask you to hand over personal banking details, such as your PIN. And they will never ask you to hand money to a courier who will collect it. The same goes for banks and other legitimate organisations and agencies.
“It is difficult during a phone call out of the blue to always think clearly, especially if the subject appears at face value to be very serious.
“So if you are unsure if what you’re being told may be a scam, then hang up the phone – the person at the other end of the phone will not be offended by you being cautious, if they are who they claim to be.
“Leave it five minutes, make sure you hear a dialling tone and the person who called initially has cleared the line, before then calling the organisation or company back. Use a number they advertise on their website or in the phone book. Don’t use any number the person gives you.
“Alternatively call police on 101 or speak to someone you know for further advice.”
We are also aware of an unsuccessful attempt to defraud someone living near Glastonbury too over the past week.
Crime prevention advice
Genuine callers, such as from a bank, police or crime agency, will:
* never ask you to withdraw cash for them
* never arrange for cash to be collected by a courier
* never ask for bank card details
* never ask for your PIN
We’d urge any other victims in the Bridgwater area to come forward and contact the police on 101, giving reference number 5221045252.
More information on how to prevent being a victim of fraud is available on Action Fraud’s website and we’d ask people to spread the message to friends and family, especially people living alone, to prevent further victims.
22/02/2021 9788 Somerset: National Insurance Scam (Telephone Call)
We have been made aware that a scam has been circulating where the offender is claiming either your National Insurance number has been compromised or has been used in serious crime. This scam is conducted via a telephone call which is automated, promptly followed by the usual request for action on the part of the recipient to press 1 on the keypad, again ‘please do not do this’. You may feel pressured into doing so as the message may state they are from the National Crime Agency, ‘they are not’. This is a scam.
If you receive a call claiming your National Insurance number has been compromised asking you to press a button on your keypad, please terminate the call.
Any general National Insurance enquiries can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-revenue-customs/contact/national-insurance-enquiries-for-employees-and-individuals
Please Read: 08/01/21 Covid Scam (Fake Text)
Trading Standards and some of our Neighbourhood Watch Schemes have made us aware of a scam being used by criminals. A text message, claiming to be from the NHS, is going around asking you to register to receive the immunisation, but which also asks for your personal information and debit/credit card details.
The vaccination is only available on the NHS, and you will not have to pay for it.
At the moment local surgeries are arranging appointments, and they will not ask your for any bank or credit card details.
27/10/20 7164 Forcewide – Operation Drive Insured 2020
Please read the attached document, which gives information about our latest campaign, Operation Drive Insured 2020, which runs between Monday 26 October to Sunday 1 November. This campaign illustrates the impact uninsured drivers can have on people’s wellbeing. Some drivers knowingly driver without insurance, but are you mistakenly uninsured?
1/10/20 9788 Somerset: Drone used as officers recover stolen farming equipment in Somerset.
Police working as part of Operation Remedy are investigating after stolen farm equipment was recovered overnight using a drone to conduct a search.
Response officers were initially called to reports of a curtain sided lorry loading what was suspected to be a stolen tractor in a lane near Tintinhull, South Somerset at around 8.30pm yesterday (20 October).
The lorry was located heading into Wiltshire on the A303 and a John Deere tractor stolen from Puckington, near Ilminster was found inside. The driver, a 32-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of theft.
The force drone unit was then deployed to conduct a search for a second item suspected to have been stolen. A high value Manitou Telehandler was located hidden within a large hedge and has now been safety returned to its owner.
Stolen farming equipment hidden in a hedge was located using a drone and then recovered by officers, as shown in the body worn video footage below:
DI Scott Chadwick, investigating, said: “This is a fantastic example of how the use of technology, in combination with intelligence provided to us by the local community, can help us respond to suspected crimes in progress.
“We’re delighted to be able to return the stolen farming property to its owner so they can continue their essential work.
“We continue to urge anyone that spots any suspicious activity to report it to police on 101. If it is an emergency or you witness a crime in progress, please call 999.”
Anyone with information relating to this specific incident is asked to call 101, quoting reference 5219206787.
If you can help, please call 101and give the call handler the reference number 5219206787
You can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers 100 per cent anonymously on 0800 555 111or via their Anonymous Online Form.
No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court or have to speak to police when contacting Crimestoppers.
Fancy becoming a Police Officer in your spare time?
HMRC Scams (Ongoing – Remain Alert). 09/09/20
Fraudsters continue to contact residents claiming to be from HMRC (the Tax Office) claiming that they owe money and that an arrest warrant will be issued if they don’t hand over payment.
A Keynsham resident received a voicemail asking them to call back on a certain number, and when the resident called he was told that he owed money to HMRC and that he would be sent to court if he didn’t pay. The victim was told to purchase Amazon gift cards as the tax office was closed due to the Covid-19 virus and they couldn’t accept debit card payment. Sadly these were purchased and the codes and reference numbers were handed over during another call at significant cost, furthermore I have just been notified of a similar incident in Cheddar, however this time the Scam was spotted by a Neighbourhood Watch member.
These offenders are very convincing, using the fear of arrest to panic their victims into handing over payment for the non-existing debts. They may give passwords and fake identity names and “badge” numbers.
Be assured that HMRC will never telephone you threatening court proceedings as a first contact, and they certainly don’t take gift cards as a means of payment. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately. If you are concerned contact your local tax office using a phone number from previous printed communication or from the phonebook. Never use a phone number provided by the scammer.
Dated: 21/08/20 9788 Somerset: Important Scam Update
This morning one of our Coordinators has kindly advised us that another of their members received an automated telephone call claiming to be from Amazon stating that they had opened an Amazon Prime Account.
They are then told if they wish to cancel they should press 1 on their keypad.
The call is then transferred to a fraudster posing as an Amazon operative who will then advise them the purchase went through as a result of a “Security Flaw” on their computer.
They will then ask for remote access to your computer to “rectify this problem”, this is to steal your personal information.
NEVER ALLOW ANYONE TO REMOTELY ACCESS YOUR PERSONAL COMPUTER IF THEY HAVE CONTACTED YOU.
Dated: 03/08/20 7164 Northeast & Somerset – Community support helps officers disperse gatherings
We were able to disperse a number of large gatherings across our force area on Saturday 1 August thanks to support from our communities.
Events in Bristol, Bathampton and in Cheddar Gorge were disrupted after members of the public called to inform us, they were taking place. It follows recent calls from the force for residents to let us know when events were happening.
We received several reports from 2pm onwards about an unlicensed music event taking place in Dame Emily Park in Bedminster, Bristol, which was attended by several hundred people. Officers attended and engaged with the organisers who agreed to stop the music at 6pm.
Emergency services subsequently received further calls about anti-social behaviour in the park at 9.30pm, with hundreds of people reported standing around a bonfire. Police returned to the park along with the fire service leading to those gathering leaving soon afterwards.
In Bathampton, several calls were made to our non-emergency number 101 about a rave being set up at approximately 11.35pm. Officers engaged with the land owners who did not support the event and additional resources were brought in. A large number of vehicles attempting to arrive were subsequently turned away while a dispersal order was put in place which required those already in attendance to leave.
The local neighbourhood policing team in Cheddar were also called into action when a large number of vehicles started to gather in the Gorge from 3pm onwards. Additional resources were again brought in and officers worked with organisers to bring an end to the event. Several motorists were also issued with individual dispersal notices.
Chief Inspector Nigel Colston said: “Our ability to disrupt large gatherings and raves is significantly enhanced when we have the support of our communities. We’re extremely grateful for the assistance provided to us this weekend which enabled us to take action and bring an end to events which started to frustrate local residents. We hope people appreciate we can’t always charge in to situations to bring them to an early finish and there may well be some disruption until we can safely disperse people from the area.
“All of the events we disrupted this weekend were in motion before officers attended but we were able to negotiate with organisers and participants and encourage them to leave or issue orders requiring them to. The sooner we’re made aware of events taking place the quicker we can act and I’d like to thank all those who called us yesterday to report their concerns, it helped enormously.”
21/07/20 9788 Somerset: Chief Constable outlines increasing demand as lockdown eases.
The attached document contains a statement from Chief Constable Andy Marsh, who explains the demand the police faced over the last weekend. It provides an insight of some of the things the police have dealt with during just one weekend.
24/06/20 9788 Somerset: Warning after phone fraud in Somerset costs victim £13,000
People in Somerset are being reminded to be vigilant of telephone fraudsters following several reports of scams in the past fortnight.
We’ve been contacted by one person who lost £13,000, while we’ve received four similar reports this month from others. The five victims live in the area around Chard.
In all five cases the victims received calls from scammers posed as police officers from London. They claimed the victims’ money was at risk from a rogue bank employee and asked them to make a substantial withdrawal from their bank, but not tell staff why they wanted to take out such a large amount of cash. Two of the victims hung up on the call and reported the matter to the police.
The other three victims attended their local bank, but in two cases the bank staff felt the circumstances were suspicious and informed Avon and Somerset Police.
In the third instance, the victim took out £13,000 and left the money to be picked up by a male courier, described as white, 5ft 10ins to 6ft, with messy hair – dirty blond to grey hair in colour – dark trousers, dark grey top, logo on the right side and of medium build, with no discernible accent.
The two victims – both women in their 70s – who were prevented from withdrawing the money by their bank, have issued advice to people who may find themselves in a similar situation.
One said: “My advice would be to discuss it with a family member or talk to someone who is close to you before you proceed.”
The second victim said: “I feel very, very stupid. I feel so small, stupid and pathetic.
“I’ve never come into contact with that side of life so it didn’t occur to me that it might be a scam.”
When asked what advice she would give to others who may find themselves in a similar situation, she replied: “Put the phone down and report it to police.”
Neither the police nor the banks will ask you for banking details or PIN numbers on the phone. Similarly, they would never send a courier to collect bank cards or money.
Our message is – don’t discuss your finances with anyone who calls you out of the blue, even if they claim to be a police officer or a representative from a bank fraud department.
Genuine callers will be happy for you to make an appointment to visit them at a bank branch or police station. They will never ask you to withdraw cash on their behalf; arrange for cash to be collected by a courier; ask for details about your bank card; or ask for the PIN on your card.
If you know someone who may be vulnerable to this type of offence, please speak to them and share our crime prevention tips and remind them of the threat from telephone fraudsters.
People who receive a call on their landline and are asked to contact their local police station or bank to verify the caller’s details ideally need to put the receiver down and not touch it for five minutes, just in case the fraudster has kept the line open. Ensure you have a dialling tone before re-using. Ideally use another phone such as a mobile phone or a neighbour’s phone and use 101 to verify the call.
We would also appeal to taxi drivers who are asked to collect parcels – especially from elderly – to be vigilant and contact us if they are suspicious.
DS Louise Sinclair said: “The trusting nature of elderly and vulnerable victims is often preyed on by criminals who target them.
“Under no circumstances should people withdraw cash from their bank accounts as a result of a telephone call, and if you have received a call like this, or ever do so in the future, please do report it so we can put a stop to this crime.
“I can understand why anyone who has lost money to fraudsters in this way may be reluctant to report it because of feeling ashamed or embarrassed, but there is no need to be. We know how devious and cunning these people are.
“Any legitimate bank employee or police officer would never ask you to withdraw money, transfer it to a different account or send a courier to pick up your money. Bank staff will never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN and they would never ask you not to tell bank staff why you are withdrawing money.
“Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen victim to a scam and report it to Action Fraud.”
Anyone with information about the incidents in Somerset should call 101 and quote reference 5220128467.
More information on protecting yourself from fraud is available on our website and from Action Fraud.