Residents warned to be alert after distraction incidents

Officers are warning residents to be on their guard against suspicious callers at the door following a number of attempted distraction burglaries in Cannock and Rugeley.

At approximately 8.50am on Friday morning (29 January), a man knocked on windows and rang the doorbell of a property in Tithebarn Road, Rugeley. He claimed to be from the council and had come to put rat poison down. On questioning, he changed his story and said he had come about trees in the garden. He left without any money being handed over. (Incident number 129 of 29 January).

An hour later at an address in Cross Street, Rugeley, a man gained entry and claimed he needed £350 to chop trees down. He left the address stating he was coming back with a skip. No money was handed over. (Incident number 178 of 29 January).

A man gained entry to a property in Longfellow Place, Cannock, between 7.30am and 11.30am on the same day, claiming he needed £180 to put rat poison down. On this occasion, he did not even knock on the door, he just walked in. When told that he would not be getting any money he left. (Incident number 317 of 29 January).

At approximately 10.15am that day, a man knocked on a door at a house in Orion Way, Cannock, requesting £360 to sort out rats in the garden. When the resident said he would check with the council, the man left without entering the property. (Incident number 195 of 29 January).

Just after 11am the same morning a man gained entry to a property in Wolverhampton Road, Cannock and demanded £200 after claiming to be working at a neighbour’s property and that they needed to pay for a skip. When told that there was no money at the address he left stating he would return later, but never did. (Incident number 254 of 29 January).

In all of the incidents the descriptions given are of a tall white man, approx 6ft, aged 35-40, of stocky build. He wears a dark jacket and bottoms with a woolly hat. On each occasion he has left in a silver estate car.

Officers are carrying out investigations into these offences and anyone with information is asked to contact Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting the relevant incident number given above.

Chief Inspector Geoff Knight, Commander of Cannock Chase Local Policing Team (LPT), said:

“If you’re contacted out of the blue by a company/charity then be on your guard and do not get drawn into accepting a service you never sought. Likewise, if a cold caller knocks on your door, don’t let them in and don’t be afraid to ask for ID so you can check and verify who they are with the company themselves. Call the police on 101 if you are suspicious and please remind elderly neighbours and family so they can avoid becoming a victim”.

You can also report crime by contacting the independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or through their Anonymous Online Form at No personal details are taken, information cannot be traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

If you have been a victim of crime click here for help and information.