POLICE in Edinburgh today launch an initiative targeting bogus caller crimes in the Capital.
Operation Aristotle is intended to help prevent people falling victim to bogus callers, while at the same time targeting offenders who prey on vulnerable members of the community.
The six-month initiative will see Lothian and Borders Police work with partner agencies to raise awareness about the dangers posed by bogus callers.
This will include identifying vulnerable residents who could be at risk from such crimes, and providing them with the appropriate information and advice.
At the same time, officers will take targeted action to catch offenders through targeted patrols and road checks, in addition to acting on information received through intelligence.
This enforcement activity, which is already under way, has resulted in the arrest of a 34-year-old man who has been charged in connection with a total of 12 alleged bogus caller crimes that happened in the north of the city. He appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on February 9, (Thursday).
Detective Chief Inspector Sara Buchanan, who is leading the initiative, said: “Bogus callers deliberately prey on vulnerable members of the community, using a variety of ruses in order to rob people who allow them into their homes in good faith.
“Operation Aristotle has been launched to ensure a co-ordinated approach towards dealing with bogus callers, and this will include working with partners in local communities to educate those who are at risk of what to do when they receive an unsolicited call at their home.
“At the same time, we want people in local communities to be vigilant, and to call police immediately if they notice any suspicious activity taking place in their street.
“This is particularly important for anyone with elderly or vulnerable neighbours, and we would urge people to look out for friends and neighbours who may be at risk.
“Further information on how people can guard against falling victim to bogus callers is available on the Lothian and Borders Police website.”
Councillor Paul Edie, Community Safety Leader from City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Bogus caller crimes are extremely distressing especially when the victims are elderly or vulnerable. Criminals see them as an easy target and it’s important that all the agencies work together to educate everyone about simple steps that can be taken to prevent these heartless acts.
“Just last week we heard about the successful arrests made by Lothian and Borders Police thanks to information provided by the public. I would encourage all our communities to look out for the elderly and vulnerable.
“If you have any suspicions about criminal activity then contact the police immediately. Together we can stop more people falling victim to this type of despicable crime.”
Anyone with any information about bogus callers operating in their area should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or Crimestoppers in confidence and complete anonymity on 0800 555 111.