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Neighbourhood Watch Jan - March 2004

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DVLA HOTLINE UNTAXED MOTOR VEHICLES
0800 032 5202
ESSEX COUNTY COUNCILTRADING STANDARDS HOTLINE
0845 604 4466
CRIMESTOPPERS
0800 555 111

MOBILE POLICE STATION'S NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NEWSLETTER

(Monday 22nd March 2004 – Friday 2nd April 2004)

Rural Police Unit
BeatMobile Visits

The next visits of the Beatmobile to Theydon Bois are on
Thursday 26th February, Thursday 11th & 25th March,
Thursday 8th & 22nd April
from 10.00am - 12.00am


TELEPHONE SCAMS
The often-promised but rarely seen threat of mobile spam seems to finally have found its niche with the advent of the 'missed call' scam. The missed call scam, or "missed call marketing" as it's sometimes called, uses phone owners' curiosity to milk them for a few quid. The companies operating the scam send out a spam text to phones that appears to the user as a missed call. If you're the curious sort, you might well ring back to find out who wanted to talk to you. Instead of a mate trying to arrange what time to meet at the pub, you'll find yourself on the wrong end of a premium rate number costing £1.50 a minute, promising you've won a prize. No prize will ever turn up - but a hefty mobile phone bill will.

Regulator ICSTIS (the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Telephone Information Services) has found two companies practicing the scheme, in breach of regulations - and the law - and shut them down. While there are two fewer scammers out there, a new temptation could well lure more out of the woodwork. With ICSTIS currently considering the introduction of higher priced premium rate lines, costing between £2.50 and £5 a minute, the spammers aren't likely to turn down the chance of making a fast buck.


CREDIT CARD FRAUD
Credit Card fraud is up by 25% so please remember – Do Not Give Out Your Pin Number to anybody – and - be very wary of having your card copied.


CRIME
Some areas are suffering from burglaries again and in one area these are occurring in the morning. There is also an increase in shed burglaries. Many of you leave lawn mowers etc in your sheds that are left insecure; this is obviously a secret plan to help the burglar. We have also lost a few vehicles from driveways and that old trick of picking up cars keys left on a table near the front door by inserting a long pole through the letterbox is back again. If you decide to upgrade your security, then, please before you spend your money, contact either of the two Crime Reduction Officers – Epping is Tony Ellis or Brentwood is Jody Greenfield or speak to me

TIE ME KANGEROO DOWN SPORT
Many of you still think I am a full time police officer. This is not true, I am retired and I now only work Monday to Friday 08.00 – 1600hrs. Therefore trying to call me at midnight on my mobile phone is a waste of time because I am sound asleep. I have just returned from a few days in Yorkshire and I have messages requesting me to attend road accidents, burglaries etc. I travel to thirty villages on a set routine and I do not attend these incidents.

The Epping and Ongar week now has a Police Community Support Officer on board and it is his job to wander the beat whilst I am in the village. His name is Allan Perrett and he spent five years in the Australian Police Force. If you see him about just ask him where his kangaroo is parked!!

 

CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603
www/essex.police



MOBILE POLICE STATION'S NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NEWSLETTER
(Monday 8th March 2004 - Friday 12th March 2004)

Rural Police Unit
BeatMobile Visits

The next visits of the Beatmobile to Theydon Bois are on
Thursday 26th February, Thursday 11th & 25th March,
Thursday 8th & 22nd April
from 10.00am - 12.00am


EUROS AND PASSPORTS
I did mention this last year but following various arrests and publicity in National Newspapers it's not a bad idea to go over it again. This problem relates to your holiday currency because so many of you are now saving your unused Euros for the next trip. Whether you are returning from either just a day trip to France or from your annual holiday you are not cashing them back into Sterling.

To make the problem even worse - some of you will keep up to £200-300's worth of Euros just laying about in the house. I can hear many of you saying, "Hadn't thought of that!!" You are one step behind the burglar. He has!! If you insist on keeping large amounts of cash at home then please take measures to keep it safe. To make matters even worse, you are keeping this currency with your Passports and they alone are worth a lot of money.

The newspaper report carried an article that related to recent arrests and the discovery of a forgery factory. This factory dealt with stolen Credit Cards and Passports that they pass on to people who are willing to pay thousands of pounds for their new identities. This factory alone was worth millions of pounds so guess how many thefts or burglaries occurred to earn that sort of money?

An extra bonus to the burglar is that if he makes an easy entrance to your property you will not even know a burglary has occurred until you search for your lost items.

To add to the above problem we have once again had a problem with Bin - Dipping so PLEASE remember that all your letters with important information on must be shredded. It is really worth the effort. Your details and any stolen items, Driving Licence etc are worth money so protect them.

Whilst on the subject of holidays and repeating information - those of you that use out of office assistants on e-mails at work - reconsider - last year a male who worked at a large company obtained all these little messages, he then obtained all the home addresses of the owners of these messages and then had his friends break into their homes.

STOLEN CAR
I know I keep on about various subjects but I do wish to just remind you about keeping focused when you are with your vehicle. A female in Brentwood was left badly shaken when she had her vehicle stolen just as she parked it. A male, white, aged about 20-25yrs, 6' tall, with a grey hooded top approach her, pushed her out the way, grabbed her keys and then drove off in her car. It was later recovered.

CAR KEYS
Just a reminder about checking your car key batteries. They only last 18 months or so and usually you don't know they are dead until you can't get into your vehicle. Then it is a problem.

CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603
www/essex.police



MOBILE POLICE STATION'S NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NEWSLETTER
Monday 23rd February 2004 - Friday 5th March 2004


WARNING
Trading Standards are warning of traders currently operating in the area offering to do work on driveways. The offer is made with a price that seems very attractive; it is only later that householders find this has gone up considerably. In one recent incident an elderly gentleman agreed to have some work done as the trader was already in the area and the price of £800 seemed good. When the work was done the trader demanded over £7000, and threatened the customer when he refused to pay. Although the extra money has not been paid and the trader has now left the premises the customer is extremely worried in case he returns. These incidents are not uncommon, and I urge residents not to be duped into having work done this way. If you have concerns about traders working in your area please contact Trading Standards on 01245 341888 or call the Doorstep Hotline on 0845 60 444 66

Judging by the number of telephone calls I get from you many of you still receive telephone calls from companies who try and book appointments with you for various reasons. One person recently had a call from a company who wished to book an appointment to inspect his electrical fuse box etc. We do contact a lot of these companies, including this one, to check them out and advise them but of course what they do is not strictly illegal. This company book appointments with the customer, they offer a password system that protects vulnerable households and all their representatives carried colour ID. A lot of these companies are genuine and because so many of you still wish to buy goods from the doorstep they still employ people to use this system. If you must use this system then please make sure you book a timed appointment with them. Then, make sure you have a friend or relative with you because it is so much easier to discuss it with someone you know. No appointment, do not answer the door.

WAXING
A new problem has arisen recently and one that perhaps many parents are not aware of. That is waxing the kerbs for skateboarding. I am told that waxing the edge of a kerb makes it easier for the skateboard to slide along. The problem arose when a Senior Citizen slipped on the wax. I have asked around and this is still a very small problem, therefore, as I do not want to start a new craze I just ask parents (very quietly) to keep an eye open for missing wax!!

Can I also just remind parents that the Motorised Scooters known as Go-peds, which are still seen on our footpaths and roads, are illegal. In fact, they never will be legal. If your child has one then you, as a parent, could well end up in court having penalty points being placed on your driving licence. You could also end up in civil court paying damages for any accident or incident involving that machine. If you know someone locally who uses these machines, tell them or ask them to have a chat with me, before it is too late.


TELEPHONE SCAMS

I have had many of you calling regarding telephone scams. The most popular one at the moment involves a recorded message on your landline stating that you had won either a large cash prize or a holiday in Greece, Spain, Tenerife, etc. You have to push to '0' to proceed. It is of course your choice whether you wish to proceed or not but unless you have 'Loads of Money' to waste, I would not bother. It is like a few of the 0800 free phone numbers. The initial telephone call is free but then they re-connect you onto a business line and that is not free. You need to ask when you phone whether you will be charge if the call continues.


ADVANCE DRIVING
Epping Forest District Council are starting their Proactive Driver Training Course in March and April. This course consists of individual assessment in your own vehicle, lectures and the use of the Skid car. Kenny Roberts, who I have known for many many years, will be the instructor and course leader. The cost of this is £65 and can be booked via Linda Hague on 01992-564094. How many of you had driving problems recently with snow on the roads? This course will help you deal with conditions like these. I know that £65 is a lot of money but it is worth it. I am not only a qualified police advanced driver but I am also qualified to drive HGV Class 1 and Double Decker Buses that I have driven in Europe as well. I have also driven all these vehicles on a skidpan. I only mention this because I got a lot of fun and knowledge out of the Skid Car; it was still a challenge. The instructor is capable of spinning you in any direction at any time. That experience should not be missed. It could save your life and is well worth £65.

BIG CAT SIGHTINGS
Yes, OK, I know what you're going to say; until you see one they don't really exist and I agree with that to a point. However I have spoken to some really trustworthy folk, people that I know well, who state that have seen them. So with over 1000 reported sightings of big cats in the UK last year I ought just to ask you to report any sightings you may have. You can report them to me or to Rob Hance at Ongar Police station, mobile 07968354018. There is also a good web site on these sightings.

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH GROUPS
Have you considered running a Neighbourhood Watch Group? It is not hard work and has many benefits including discount on your Household Insurance. Crime is not going to go away so any interest shown by you in this direction will help safeguard your property and welfare. Many of you already claim discount on your Insurance for belonging to a watch but you do need to know the details of your Co-coordinator just in case you make a claim. Your Insurance Company may well demand this information. Repeating myself I know, but one such person did not know that the local neighbourhood watch co-coordinator had died two years before the claim. Oops!! The claim went the same way.

MESSAGE IN THE BOTTLE SCHEME
So, the emergency services have broken into your home and found you lying on the floor unconscious. They have no knowledge of your medical condition, no knowledge of your next of kin and no knowledge of your doctor's details. You may well have been on the floor for hours even days and therefore those first few minutes are important, your life could well depend on the action taken. It may well be that you suffer from diabetes; your life could be saved if we knew that.

So, the Message in the Bottle is a scheme that is used throughout Essex and is recognized by all the emergency services. The bottle is in fact plastic; it has numerous green cross stickers that are placed inside the front door, on your fridge door and around the plastic bottle. The bottle is placed inside the fridge. All details are placed inside the bottle for our use. Age also has little to do with this; I know a twenty year old who suffered from Asthma who collapsed at home. These bottles are free and can be obtained from the Mobile Police Station. Well worth the effort!!

CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603
www/essex.police



MOBILE POLICE STATION'S NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NEWSLETTER
Monday 9th February 2004 - Friday 20th February 2004

CREDIT CARDS
Recently there have again been numerous attempts to obtain Credit Card Pin Numbers. Please DO NOT PART WITH THEM - EVER. Nobody has a right to your number, not even the police - not even your bank. Owners of MasterCard have had calls from a gent claiming to be from their Security and Fraud Department. He supports this claim with a badge number and a telephone number. He will try and talk you round to giving out your numbers. DON'T

There are numbers on the back of the card as well - do not give those numbers out either - ever. They can be found on the small strip - they are important so do not give them out. If any company requires that information tell them to write to you. If they request your address then ignore it because they should have it already - after all - they are your bank!!

I have told you before - and I know I sound like a scratched record that keeps repeating itself but - a female working in a shop lost her purse - she reported it to the police - within two hours the police called back - "We have two prisoners and your purse along with your cards" - she is over the moon!! - the police continue - "Problem is that they have used the cards and although we have tried to speak to your bank they will not help without your pin number" - She gives it out - her account is emptied - it is not the police of course but the people who stole her cards in the first place.

I must also warn you again about Bin Dipping. This is the practice where people hunt through your dustbin contents for your information. Any bits of paper with your data on is useful in some way to them. This is sold on to organize groups of villains. You must take care with your rubbish. You may have read recently where one family lost £16,000 by this method.

There have also been a few thefts from postboxes. You should keep records of all important data sent by post just in case. Many of you keep diaries now listing unusual phone calls or callers. Do not be afraid to ask searching questions - Trust No One!!

THE GARDEN FIGHTS BACK
Most burglars gain entry to your property from the rear. Once they are around the back of your property they can't be seen. Consider putting this right this spring. Secure the sides of your property and use NATURE to help you. I have a list of plants that will cause the burglar great pain. If you are unsure about alarms and such devices, come and talk to me first - please do not waste your money on useless equipment.

JUNK
Many of you have complained about Junk Mail and Telephone Cold Calling operations. Here are two addresses that should solve most of your problems. Contacting these companies should remove your details from these lists.
1) Mailing Preference Service, Freepost 22, London W1E 7EZ Telephone 0845 703 4599 (which is charged at a local call rate) www.mpsonline.org.uk
2) Telephone Preference Service, DMA House, 70 Margaret Street, London W1W 8SS. Telephone 0845 070 0707 (charged at local call rate) www/tpsonline.org.uk

WILDLIFE ISSUES
Just a couple of useful numbers you may like to keep. Due to the number of birds and other wildlife that are illegal poisoned each year, a special number has been set up so that you can report any suspicious wildlife death or poisoned bait: - 0800 321 6000.

There is also information on the Conservation of Bats available on 020 7627 2629. There have been a number of prosecutions and police action surrounding Bat Crime.

You can always contact Pc Robin Hance, who is the Essex Police Wildlife Officer, or myself.

STOLEN VEHICLES
Another subject that I go on about is that of leaving your vehicle's engine running whilst warming the vehicle or de-icing it. This is normally stolen from outside your house or your corner shop whilst collecting your morning newspaper. There are teams out who specialize in this type of offence. This problem is still going on but there is an added problem. Your vehicle is being used in crime and this causes a knock on problem to you. Not only are you involved in the follow up enquiries from that crime but also I bet they have set off every speed camera going and guess who gets the ticket? I know you can overcome the problem but you don't really need the hassle do you?

Vehicle alarm systems are fairly good these days and villains need to get them shut off before stealing them. Ungaraged vehicles parked overnight are easy targets. The thief will knock the vehicle until alarm sounds. The owner on hearing this will switch it off and then reset it. Five minutes later the thief will then set the alarm off again. The owner will then leave the alarm off thinking it is faulty. Vehicle is then stolen. If you have a garage use it. Don't forget that 40% of stolen vehicles are never returned and 30% of all theft from motor vehicles occurs in car parks.

MOBILE PHONES
Don't forget that I can postcode your mobile phones. You should also keep the serial number at home - in case you are unsure how to obtain this number then push *#06# that is star - hash - 06 - hash.

BUMBLES GREEN AREA
Just for the information of people who live in the above area and those of you who use this area each day, of which I know are many, this area is being targeted, for the next six months, by the Enforcement Team from The Chigwell Road Policing Team. This is pro-active work due to the serious amount of road accidents in this area.

CLASSIC MUSIC
Thanks to those of you who have brought in your unwanted Classical and Opera CDs. Mobile Police Station has a bit of class now!! Don't forget me if you have any more.



MOBILE POLICE STATION'S NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH NEWSLETTER
Monday 26th January 2004 - Friday 6th February 2004


Rural Police Unit
BeatMobile Visits

The next visits of the Beatmobile to Theydon Bois are on
Thursday 12th, 26th February & Thursday 11th & 25th March
from 10.00am - 12.00am


DRUGS
Grandparents are my favourite type of person. Being one myself does make me slightly biased I suppose but I do find that because they do not see their grandchildren every day they pick up on change of moods quicker than parents would. This is not meant to be disrespectful to parents but living with teenagers is stressful at times and mood changes difficult for a parent to detect and to put a finger of the cause. Grandparents will notice a sudden growth and so on. One reason - and thankfully - a rare reason for a change of mood is the taking of drugs. Not many parents, and even less grandparents, have seen drugs and therefore have little knowledge of what they look like. I have on board a kit with these drugs displayed. If you are interested then please come and ask to see them.

CARJACKING
There was another case pf carjacking recently - a female was pulled out of her vehicle at a petrol station and left there whilst her vehicle was driven off at speed. One could get paranoid these days but perhaps when you are returning to your vehicle and you are alone - whether it is in a car park, petrol station etc then take in your surroundings. Look and see if there is anyone standing about. It is like using the Hole in the Wall system, you should not use it without being sure that nobody is standing about watching you. Look around you first, be aware.

You should also use your internal locking system. Directly you enter your vehicle lock the doors. This will also save guard you when you are stationary at traffic lights etc. Yes, I know we shouldn't have to and I accept it is difficult but you have to consider your safety and even the welfare of a child who might be left asleep in the car. Try and get into the habit of looking around you. The other point is that when you fill up with petrol at a petrol station - lock your vehicle before paying. You would be surprised at the number of thefts from vehicles left unlocked.

SECURITY
Now is a good time to consider your security at home. If you are considering securing your garage, shed or installing an alarm then before spending your hard earned cash - come and have a chat with me. Crime is not going to go away. If you read this newsletter in your village magazine then consider starting up a neighbourhood watch group. You will get some peace of mind from it.

CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603
www/essex.police

 

 
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Last Up Dated: 15th March 2004