Cumbria Police have issued information on how people can help protect their properties following the recent flooding.
Officers say they have had some reports of theft, although not "a significant rise" in reports of criminal activity linked to the flooding in the county. However, people are being asked to take some simple precautions to keep their possessions safe.
As a precaution extra patrols have been deployed in areas that have been severely affected by flooding.
Superintendent Mark Pannone said: “People in Cumbria have really come together following the severe flooding that has occurred over the last few days, and have shown commendable community spirit across the county. Sadly however, there is always the possibility that some criminal elements could take advantage of people’s misfortunes, and I would urge people to take some simple steps to help keep their belongings safe.
“There have been some isolated incidents of properties being targeted by a couple of opportunistic individuals, and we will be investigating these incidents thoroughly to bring those responsible to justice. Anyone who has been a victim of crime should call Cumbria Police on 101 so that we can investigate, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”
Councillor John McCreesh, Cumbria County Council Cabinet member responsible for Trading Standards, said: "The contribution of local communities has been both vital and outstanding, it's a shame now that some individuals may look to take advantage of those affected. On behalf of Cumbria Trading Standards we'd urge businesses and the public to exercise caution when being approached by traders.
"Rogue traders may cold-call to your home or business and will often use clever tactics to get you to agree to having work carried out. Please try to use reputable local traders and follow advice from your insurance provider, citizens advice and the police."
Crime prevention advice:
Fraudulent activity / door steppers:
· Use people/firms you know, obtain several quotes, and don’t let unknown traders persuade you into having works done.
· If in doubt tell the caller to leave and do not let someone into your home you do not know – genuine traders will not try to pressurise you.
· Look out for neighbours and friends – especially those who are vulnerable and elderly.
· Call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 for advice or to report a suspicious trader, or call 101 to report an incident to the police.
· When it is safe to return to your property, please consider removing items of financial and sentimental value to safe venue, e.g. a relative’s address.
· If you are looking to ventilate your property, remember to close and secure doors and windows on departure/when going to bed.
· Remain vigilant; community spirit is critical at this time, please look out for your neighbours.
· Challenge people you do not recognise, genuine people will not be offended by this. If you do not have the confidence to challenge, report it.
· Additional high visibility foot patrols are in operation in the worst affected areas.
· If it looks suspicious or out of the ordinary, report it to Cumbria Police on 101.
Keeping in touch:
· Cumbria police and partners urge residents to register on Cumbria Community Messaging. A free information service through which you can receive updates on what is happening in your area. You can register online here.