|The following is a Police Connect message:
As communities come together to support one another during the coronavirus outbreak, police are urging people to be vigilant to scammers and bogus officials.
It comes after cold-callers targeted an elderly North Norfolk resident who was telephoned by someone claiming he was calling from ‘Southern Electric’. The caller stated that they would visit the resident’s home at midday and in exchange for a cash payment of £520 a credit of £5,000 would be put onto the resident’s electricity bill ‘as part of us helping people though the Coronavirus outbreak’. When the resident visited the bank to withdraw the money bank staff prevented the withdrawal.
Residents are urged to be vigilant and take the normal precautions when dealing with cold-callers.
Chief Inspector Craig Miller said: “It’s great that communities across Norfolk are coming together to help one another during these unprecedented times. However, we sadly know from previous experience that criminals will take advantage of any opportunity for their own means and this situation is no different.
“Scams are likely to come in many different forms, from those pretending to be police officers or working for healthcare organisations calling on people to say they are testing for the virus to those fraudulently sell face masks, or offer to do shopping and taking money.
“We would urge resident, particularly those who are vulnerable, to only deal with people they trust and that if anyone has any doubts about those who are approaching them, and are concerned, we advise that they don’t engage and report suspicious behaviour to police.
“The majority of groups are well intentioned and will be working through charities, or through a local authority and should have proof that they are doing so.”
Alongside the work of the police the Norfolk County Council Trading Standards team are continuing to fight scammers and are urging people to sign up to scam alerts to find out about the latest scams hitting the county. To sign up visit: www.norfolk.gov.uk/tsalerts
Cllr Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council Cabinet Member for Communities and Partnerships, said: “It’s shameful that unscrupulous fraudsters are trying to take advantage of the pandemic to make money. Particularly when so many people are volunteering to help support and protect their friends and neighbours.
“Something we can all do is complete the quick and simple Friends Against Scams training online. This allows everyone to better understand and spot scams, and recognise when people are being scammed in our community. Visit www.friendsagainstscams.org.uk/elearning/Norfolkand make yourself scam aware.”
Vulnerable people will be most at risk so we ask that people protect themselves and relatives and neighbours who could become victims.
If you feel in immediate danger call 999 or if you know someone is vulnerable and has been a victim of fraud, please contact Norfolk Police on 101 or Action Fraud at www.actionfraud.police.ukor call 0300 123 2040.
You can report scams and suspicious telephone cold calls to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133.
The Annual Town Meeting, held on Thursday 5th March 2020 at the Diss Youth & Community Centre, offered an opportunity for the public to find out what the Town Council has been up to throughout the year including updates on current projects and plans for the future of Diss.
We were delighted with the support from a variety of local organisations that attended to offer advice and information. They included representatives from the Diss Citizens Advice Bureau, MTM Youth Services, South Norfolk’s Help Hub, the Diss & District Neighbourhood Plan, Diss Youth Council, Empanda, Dementia support, Park Radio, South Norfolk Wellbeing Team, Diss Waveney Rotary Club, Quaker Wood, Friends of Parish Fields & the Diss Corn Hall.
The meeting concluded with a Q&A session inviting the public to raise issues or share any ideas with the Council.
This was also an opportunity to see the awards presented to the Honoured & Junior Good Citizens of Diss.
This year saw four worthy applications received for the Honoured Citizen award and we extend our thanks for the nominees for their contributions. Andrew Rackham was chosen by councillors for his outstanding contribution to Diss over the years through his support of local organisations namely the Diss Waveney Rotary Club, Royal British Legion and the Fair Green Neighbourhood Association. Andrew has also played a key role in helping to support and organise events such as the Diss Christmas Lights Switch-On, Diss Cyclathon and Diss Carnival and has shown great efforts in fundraising.
After receiving his award from Town Mayor Councillor Sonia Browne in front of family and friends, Andrew said “It’s so nice to be considered worthy for this year’s Honoured Citizen of Diss award. I have always taken a keen interest in the wellbeing and continued development of the town. I’d like to thank Diss Town Council for selecting me for this award, Simon Noble and Suzanne Kayne for nominating me and to my family and friends who have helped me with the building and successful implementation of the various projects that I have been involved with.”
Junior Good Citizen, Callum Doe, was nominated by Julia Fairbrother and Richard Pither for his remarkable voluntary work in the community. Callum is a member of the Diss Youth Group where he volunteers in running the tuck shop and supports younger members. Callum has shown outstanding commitment and bravery, always showing enthusiasm despite being diagnosed with a brain tumour in December 2018. He is heavily involved in Diss Youth Group’s Gardening Group where he has assisted at Quaker Wood’s conservation sessions for the last three years. Julia complimented Callum’s dedication and bravery in a touching speech. She said “No task given to Callum is ever a problem. He does any job needed, whether it’s wet, cold, snowy or sunny and is always eager to learn. Callum is a truly amazing, funny, intelligent young person who has always been kind, considerate and helpful to others, despite his own personal battles.”
We’re sure you’ll agree both are very deserving of the awards and we thank them both for their dedicated work in the community.
Information about Coronavirus – taken from ‘Coronavirus: an action plan – A guide to what you can expect across the UK’ published 3 March 2020 by UK government Department of Health & Social Care
The role the public can play in supporting this response
4.34 Everyone can help support the UK’s response by:
Diss Police Station will be open for drop in sessions, every Friday, from 6th March 2020 between 1000hrs and 1200hrs until further notice.