Alresford & District Neighbourhood Watch Association

Issue No. 20

Autumn 2004



Distraction Burglary and Rogue Trading are very     similar, both have the same aim - to steal - either money or property while the householder’s attention is distracted, or by overcharging for poor services.

Be wary of all unexpected callers, especially those offering Driveway, roofing or guttering repairs, or to buy antiques. The identity of anyone unknown should be carefully checked.

The burglar may pretend to be an official, visiting to check the water supply or the gas pipes - but any excuse to get in the house will do.  He might claim to be lost, or in need of a drink of water, or he might ask to use the phone or look for a lost cat.  This kind of burglar can spot the home of an  elderly person and has an uncanny way of knowing where cash, pension books and valuables are kept in the house. 

It is a particularly insidious crime in which the victims are often elderly people who live alone. A few minutes distraction of the resident is all that is needed to complete the theft, but the effects can be long-lasting.

In two recent Rogue Trading cases, residents were alarmed to be presented with bills of up to £6,000 for the resurfacing of their driveways - when in both cases the drives had been worked on without the householder’s permission.

Alresford Neighbourhood Watch, the Police and Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards Office have introduced a number of  initiatives to combat the problems -


A   A supply of crime prevention advice leaflets on this  particular subject has been sent to each Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, with a request for them to distribute to elderly or vulnerable residents in their area and to discuss the problem. 

As the "Doorstoppers" scheme  progresses, Trading Standards will be giving talks to elderly people at lunch clubs, and older peoples’ groups to explain how to deal with unwanted callers. They will provide residents with `Safe and Sound' information booklets and stickers to go on front doors to warn doorstep traders not to call.


Is your house number or name clearly visible?    Emergency services are being increasingly hampered by not being able to identify houses, especially in more rural areas. Make sure you are easy to find. Put up a new number, or cut back  overhanging foliage.  Also, if you do have to call for help, then if possible get someone outside to show them where you are, when they arrive.


The name of the murdered Crimewatch presenter lives on after a London Institute of Criminology was named after her. Researchers there have noticed that houses situated within a 400 metre radius of one which was burgled face a significantly increased risk of being burgled in the next 2 months.  This follows the finding that any house is at risk of being burgled again within 12 months of the first offence. 

In places like Alresford, where burglary is so rare that it is difficult to predict, these models are now being developed by our local police so that crime prevention measures can be focussed in the areas where it can have the most effect. 

Further information on this interesting development can be obtained from Alresford's Inspector, Steve Sargent at -


A small sub-committee has been formed with the aim of maintaining the yellow and black Neighbourhood Watch signs in good condition. Some signs have been in place for over ten years and the weather does eventually render them illegible. We think the signs in the town area have now been dealt with, but if you feel any require attention, please call 734833 or 732959 and we’ll take action.

Shortly we shall be approaching the rural areas as many signs are either overgrown or faded. It is a proven fact that a poor Neighbourhood Watch sign is likely to attract crime, rather than deter, so please help us keep up the standard.



W  When a call comes in from a concerned householder the quick response team aims to set out immediately in order to arrive whilst the trader is still in the area or is scheduled to return. The team aims to catch the culprits red-handed and save residents from potentially being duped out of  thousands of pounds. In the team's first week of operation it dealt with three incidents and saved consumers over £8,000. Anyone feeling under pressure or threatened by a cold caller and feels they need advice or assistance can call Hampshire Trading Standards on - 0845 603 0081. If you believe a crime has taken place, or is about to, ring 999 while they are still in your street, so that the Police can attend. 


Al  Always keep the caller waiting outside while you check their identity card - preferably by telephoning their office. 

G   Genuine callers will not mind waiting while you check them out.  If you are still not happy, ask the caller to come back at a time when you can have someone in the house with you.  

Use traders known or recommended, or from the Trading Standards approved trader scheme,
‘Buy With Confidence’ at -
or phone - 0845 603 0081.


There has been a spate of vehicle break-ins in Alresford recently. Please be alert and report suspicious vehicles, especially registration numbers. Police patrols are always active in the area, so make that call immediately. Also, remember NOT to leave anything of value in your car, and it is vital to lock the vehicle, even on your own drive.

Update from WPC Jane Brookes -
Alresford’s Beat Officer

Crime levels in Alresford are virtually unchanged from last year.  For instance, the number of house burglaries in the town over the 5 months from April to August was the same this year as last - just 4. 

Crimes against property are generally falling all over the country, and we have seen a particularly welcome fall in the number of cars which are broken into, except over the last couple of weeks.

Further reductions in this problem will occur if we all stop leaving anything in our cars or vans, either at night outside our homes, or when out walking the dog.

The amount of violent crime has risen nationally and this is mostly connected with drunkenness.  Alresford, with no night club, has not seen this, and violent crime remains low here. 

We will continue to defeat crime if we remain vigilant and look out for our neighbours - especially those who we know are more vulnerable than the rest of us.


As a rural complement to N.W., Alresford Police are launching Farmwatch now that harvest is over. Many thefts occur in isolated farms and farmers will soon benefit from increased contact with the Police and from better crime prevention advice, along with warning notices for would be thieves. This approach has been very successful in the Petersfield area and further details will soon be issued to farmers by the scheme’s organiser, PC Steve Thompson.


Alresford PC’s Penny Linstead and Richard Morgan were congratulated by their Superintendent recently at a ceremony held in Winchester.
Whilst on patrol in April, the two prevented the suicide of a young man, who upon recovery, attacked them and had to be restrained until help arrived. PC Morgan received a minor injury.


Advance notice for your diary. The Neighbourhood Watch AGM will be held in the Edward Knight Centre (Goods Shed) on Wednesday November 10th.