POLICE are advising the elderly to protect themselves from bogus callers after several residents were targeted in a north Durham village.

Thieves have been carrying out door-to-door checks around Sacriston, near Chester-le-Street, offering work and on occasion are asking to use the facilities in the victim’s home. After gaining entry, the thieves then steal numerous items from the victim’s home.

Sergeant Mick Richardson, from Chester-le-Street Neighbourhood team said: “We would like to reassure residents that we are following a number of lines of enquires to bring these offenders to justice.

“We acknowledge that some businesses do carry out legitimate door-to-door work but we would remind all residents to remain vigilant.”

Police are urging residents make sure their back doors are locked as bogus callers often have an accomplice who may try to enter your home by the back door while you are distracted.

And do not open the door until you have looked through a window or used a door viewer to see who is on your doorstep.

If you feel that you need to speak to the caller, use a door-chain. Do not open the door unless you put the chain on first so that you can see the person on your doorstep. Find out who they are and what they want.

Check their identity. If they say they are from a utility or sales company they will have photo identification. If they cannot produce a bone fide identification card, send them away and close the door.

Officers are asking people to share this advice with any elderly relatives or friends who may be targeted.

Anyone with information or who notices anything suspicious should contact Durham Police on 101.