DORSET residents are being urged to be on their guard from distraction burglars who pose as officials in a bid to gain entry to people’s homes.

The Consumer Council for Water has issued the warning against criminals who claim to be from the ‘water board’ or another recognised organisation to gain entry to a home and steal. They say around 30 bogus caller crimes happen in England and Wales every day.

Distraction burglars struck 28 times in Dorset the first seven months of this year, and 33 times the same time the previous year.

Offenders make up stories to get into people’s homes. They can work in groups, be men, women or children and their stories will appear genuine and will sometimes sound urgent.

Detective Inspector Richard Dixey said there were 48 in 2011 which equates to around one a week.

“It is an extremely high impact crime. It can leave the victims feeling silly, that they have let themselves and others down. They often feel like it is their fault they have been duped.

“The victims of distraction burglary tend to be vulnerable adults or the elderly – it a pretty despicable crime which targets people in their home where they should feel safe.”

DI Dixey added: “These people are extremely clever, very competent and convincing.

“We are fortunate we have low crime levels in Dorset in relation to distraction burglary but it is an arguably an under-reported crime and we would urge anyone who has been a victim of distraction burglary to report it to their local police.”

Dorset Police can be contacted on 101.