A WARNING has gone out to residents in North Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Police say distraction burglars and cold-calling criminals are targeting vulnerable people in the county and are urging warning people to be on their guard – and to warn friends, family and neighbours of the danger – after an incident on Tuesday (June 11).

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A police spokesman said: "It happened in St Mary’s Avenue, Thirsk, at about midday on Tuesday (June 11), when the victim – a woman in her 80s – was tricked into handing over a large quantity of cash by two men who arrived in a white van.

"Our enquiries are ongoing. If you saw or witnessed anything in relation to the offence, or if you have CCTV covering the area, please contact DC Quita Readman on quita.readman@northyorkshire.police.uk, quoting reference 12240103574.

"Meanwhile, we want everyone to be vigilant - follow this advice - and share it with people you know:

"Do not allow unexpected callers into your home unless they have a prior appointment. Even if they have identification and appear trustworthy, do not let them in without checking who they claim to be.

"Use a phone number from the phone book or internet for the company that they claim to be from, not the one shown on their identify card.

"If you’re not sure, don’t open the door.

"When making a pre-planned appointment, consider setting up a password so you can verify the caller.

"If you do let someone in, make sure your front door is secure before you escort them through your home. This ensures no one else can enter while you’re busy.

"Beware of a caller at your door claiming to be a builder highlighting an issue with your home – this is a common trick used by criminals. Never be forced into making a quick decision on the doorstep, and absolutely refuse to be taken to a bank to withdraw money to pay them.

"If at any time you feel intimidated by a doorstep caller, simply close the door and call the police. If you feel you’re in danger, it’s an emergency and you should call 999."