If you would like to hook into the new e-NHW network, or have any questions or comments please advise Steve Horner.   Contact details are:

Steve Horner      01460 234342      steve@horner.uk.com

Janice Evans      01460 234118       ejanice54@yahoo.co.uk

If you have information about any crime, phone the police on 101 or you can call anonymously to the independent charity CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111.   For general information about Neighbourhood Watch nationally see the www.urwatch.org.uk website.

If anyone is the victim of a crime, or even sees a suspicious incident, we would like to know as Neighbourhood Watch so that we can advise the other parishes on our network i.e. Churchstanton, Pitminster, Buckland St Mary, Corfe and Yarcombe. This very rarely happens and we do need your co-operation.   Thank you.


Beef up your security! Click to download details of some very useful security items available at reasonable prices from Somerset Police.   An order form is included.   Items can be picked up from your local police station.


Something gone missing? There is a quick and easy way to report lost property online - click here.    The ReportMyloss website allows people to log their lost item using an online form, which will register the item on a Police Approved, National Database.   Police all over the UK will be able to view  the database.


Nuisance calls, texts or emails?

Click for online advice.



DEVON AND CORNWALL ALERT is a two--‐way community messaging system operated by Devon and Cornwall Police.   The system advises subscribers as to what is happening in their area and allows them to respond directly with any information.   The system is designed to allow people who register to choose the type of information they would like to receive concerning crime and anti--‐social behaviour, witness appeals, crime prevention, community events and local good news.   Subscribers will not be notified about every crime or incident that happens in their community.   The aim is to send relevant information where it is believed it will reduce the opportunity for crime and anti--‐social behaviour or will help Devon and Cornwall Police solve a crime. See www.alerts.dc.police.uk/.




Tractor Battery Theft

A tractor battery has been stolen between Stockland and Dalwood today, 23rd November 2018.   The vehicle and occupants were seen and described as a small green Fiesta-type car with 3 occupants, one male about 20, one middle aged and another older.   This has been reported to the police.   Any sightings or information to the police please - you can find all the ways to contact them at www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/contact/

If you can help the police with any information regarding the theft yesterday, the police report number is CR10828578.   Obviously they can link the information to the investigation much quicker with this number.

It seems that battery theft is prevalent because of the scrap value of the lead in a battery and because individual batteries are usually unidentifiable.   In 2017 there was a spate of battery theft including theft from the Wilmington recycling centrehttp://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/wilmington-recycling-centre-targeted-by-car-battery-thieves-1-5310038
Batteries were stolen from temporary traffic lights in February this year.

It helps if you mark expensive batteries with your postcode or a dab or two of paint and take a photo on your phone. It won't always deter thieves BUT it makes it much easier to prove if the police do catch someone in possession.

Copper Tank Theft

On Tuesday 20th November at 1420hrs, a white male drew up to premises in the Stockland area in a white van with chevrons on the back.   The male approached the front door of a property with some leaflets - when there was no response he picked up, without consent, a copper tank which he then put in his van and drove off.   The male was wearing a blue mixed bobble hat, blue jeans and a blue t-shirt with a red and blue North Face logo.

If any members of the public have any information relating to this incident or saw anyone fitting that description in the area, they are asked to contact the Police on 101, quoting ref CR/109717/18 or to email the Axminster Neighbourhood Police Team at axminster@dc.police.uk

Message sent by:     Chris Bolsover (Police, PCSO, Axminster)

Action Counters Terrorism - trust your instincts

Report suspicious activity to www.gov.uk/ACT or 0800 789 321

March 2018:  There is no increase in the threat level for international terrorism in the UK, which remains at ‘severe’, nor is there any specific threat within Devon and Cornwall.   However in support of the national effort to tackle the ongoing threat Devon & Cornwall Police / Dorset Police urges the public to help them tackle terrorism and save lives by reporting suspicious behaviour and activity.   Communities defeat terrorism, and your actions could save lives.

Never worry about wasting police time.   No call or click will be ignored.   What you tell the police is treated in the strictest confidence and is thoroughly researched by experienced officers before, and if, any police action is taken.   Any piece of information could be important, it is better to be safe and report.   Remember, trust your instincts and ACT, because Action Counters Terrorism.

How can I report something suspicious?

Reporting is quick and easy.   You can report in confidence online via our secure form: www.gov.uk/ACT.   Alternatively, you can call the police confidentially on 0800 789 321.   All reports are kept confidential and you can report anonymously.   In an emergency always call 999.

What should I report?

You can report suspicious activity or behaviour – anything that seems out of place, unusual or just doesn’t seem to fit in with everyday life.  
Terrorists need to plan, so behaviours that don’t seem right fall into five categories: research, gathering materials, storing materials, hostile reconnaissance and financing. Some examples of suspicious activity or behaviour could include:

. Research

. Do you know someone who looks at extremist material, including on the so-called Dark Web, or shares and creates content that promotes or glorifies terrorism?

. Have you noticed someone embracing or actively promoting hateful ideas or an extremist ideology?   Meetings, training and planning can take place anywhere.

. Do you know someone who travels but is vague about where they’re going?

. Do you know someone with passports or other documents in different names, for no obvious reason?

. Gathering materials
Suspicious materials can be ordered online as well as in store.   Have you noticed someone receiving deliveries for unusual items bought online?

. If you work in commercial vehicle hire or sales, has a sale or rental seemed unusual?

' Have you noticed someone buying large or unusual quantities of chemicals, fertilisers or gas cylinders for no obvious reason?

. Have you noticed someone acquiring illegal firearms or other weapons or showing an interest in obtaining them?

. Storing materials
Terrorists need to store equipment while preparing for an attack.   Have you noticed anyone storing large amounts of chemicals, fertilisers or gas cylinders?

. Have you noticed anyone storing illegal firearms or objects that could potentially be weapons?

. Hostile Reconnaissance
Observation and surveillance help terrorists plan attacks.   Have you witnessed anyone taking pictures or notes of security arrangements or CCTV?

. Financing
Cheque and credit card fraud are ways of generating cash.   Have you noticed any suspicious or unusual bank transactions?

If you’d like more information or resources, visit www.gov.uk/ACT or follow Counter Terrorism Policing on social media: Facebook Twitter YouTube #ActionCountersTerrorism


Tool & Knife Sharpening Rogue Traders

Devon and Somerset Trading Standards have received reports which suggests rogue traders offering tool/knife sharpening are operating in the Devon area.   We would advise residents to exercise caution before agreeing to any work offered by unsolicited doorstep callers.   Work can often be of poor quality and cost more than first agreed.   If you need to have tools etc sharpened or any general maintenance works undertaken, take time to get three quotes from reputable businesses you trust and make your decision on who to use in your own time.   Get recommendations from family or trusted friends or via www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.

If someone knocks on your door and you are not sure, don't open the door.   If you are concerned rogue traders are operating in your area, always report it.   If you are concerned someone is at risk, always call the Police.   Would recipients of Community Messaging make your elderly and vulnerable neighbours aware of this message.   Thank you.


Fake Bank Letter

This is a message sent via Devon and Cornwall Alert. This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau)

Lloyds customers should be on the lookout for a new sophisticated fraud that involves fraudsters sending fake bank letters.   The convincing letters being sent are a replica template from Lloyds and include their logo, address and signature from a customer service representative.   The letter tells recipients that there have been some “unusual transactions” on their personal account and asks them to call a number highlighted in bold to confirm they are genuine.   When victims call the number, an automated welcome message is played and the caller is asked to enter their card number, account number and sort code followed by their date of birth.   Victims are then instructed to enter the first and last digit of their security number.

The fraud was spotted by the Daily Telegraph who was alerted to it by a reader who had three identical letters sent to an office address.   On separate occasions the Daily Telegraph ran some tests using fake details and were passed to fraudsters who claimed to be from a Lloyds contact centre.   The bank has confirmed that the phone number and letters are fake.   The letters are essentially a sophisticated phishing attempt and serves as a warning to consumers to question written correspondence from their banks.

If you are ever suspicious about correspondence from your bank you should call the customer serviced number on the back of their card.
To report a fraud and cyber crime, call us on 0300 123 2040 or visit actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud


New 105 Phone Service

This document includes information on a new service launched in September 2016 - the national 105 number to ring regarding Power Cuts.

This new service enables people to ring 105 to get information on Power Cuts in their area or to report welfare concerns in the face of power interruption.

Theft From Vehicle In Yarcombe

June 27th 2016: This message relates to Crime ref 42975/16.    Police received a report of theft from a vehicle parked in the car park at a Nature Reserve in Yarcombe in Honiton.   A window was smashed and a handbag stolen.   Drivers are reminded to remove all items of value from vehicles before leaving them unattended.   Thank you.

Lottery Scam

May 2016: Police have received a report of a letter purporting to be from The People's Postcode Lottery.   A letter sent to a resident in Torrington told of them winning an substantial amount and gave serial numbers to tickets bearing their name and giving contact details.   If you are a member of The Peoples Postcode Lottery, do not be fooled.   If you receive such a letter, there are indications on the letter that do show it is a scam.   Do not ring any of the numbers given on the letter or give any personal, banking or card details.   If you are unsure as to the authenticity to letters of this nature, go to your local Police Station for assistance in confirming a scam. Thank you.

Dodgy Tarmac Operators

April 2016: Police have received two reports of males offering to tarmac driveways in the Woodbury Salterton area on 27th and 28th April.   Two males dressed in high visibility clothing state they are working for the Council and have spare materials and offer to tarmac driveways.   The males will only take cash for the shoddy work and have escorted one victim to the bank for payment.   No quotes or paper work were supplied to the victims and excessive sums are charged for very poor quality work.   These males are driving a grey Nissan Nivara pickup, registration number FN65FWZ.   Please have nothing to do with these males and look out for neighbours who may be approached.   If you have a call from these males please contact the Police straightaway quoting Log No. 319 of 28th April 2016. Thank you.


Royal Mail Scam Email

Feb 2016:   Fraudsters are sending out virus infected emails that claim a package has been seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.   The official looking scam emails claiming to be from Royal Mail contain a link to a document which will install malicious software on your computer designed to steal credentials like account names, email addresses and passwords.

An example email reads:


Title: Your parcel has been seized.

Royal Mail is sorry to inform you that a package addressed to you was seized by HM Revenue & Customs upon arrival into the United Kingdom.   A close inspection deemed your items as counterfeit and the manufacturers have been notified.   If your items are declared genuine then they will be returned back to you with the appropriate custom charges.   You may have been a victim of counterfeit merchandise and the RM Group UK will notify you on how to get your money back.    Please review the attached PDF document for more information.

Document (RM7002137GB).Zip

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may have caused.


To help the spread of the virus, the email also says: “you will need to have access to a computer to download and open the Zip file”.   If you receive one of these emails, do not click on any links or download any attachments and report it to Action Fraud.

Protect Yourself:

  Royal Mail will never send an email asking for credit card numbers or other personal or confidential information.

Royal Mail will never ask customers to enter information on a page that isn’t part of the Royal Mail website.

Royal Mail will never include attachments unless the email was solicited by a customer e.g. customer has contacted Royal Mail with an enquiry or has signed up for updates from Royal Mail.

Royal Mail have also stressed that they do not receive a person’s email address as part of any home shopping experience.

 If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone: 0300 123 2040



Burglar Alarm Scam

January 2016:  An elderly resident of Marsh has received a call from a Burglar Alarm company who claimed to be working on behalf of the Yarcombe Parish Council,  carrying out surveys of properties for the installation of Burglar Alarms.   On enquiry she was told the cost was £99.00 per survey.   No such arrangement has been made with the Council and you are advised to terminate any such call.


Theft of Gas Cylinders

Police received a report of the theft of Orange Calor Gas Cylinders from Farleigh Trinity Field on Old Chard Road in the Monkton areas of Honiton. 
Heavy chain link fencing was cut for access between 1900-2200hrs on Thursday 14th January 2016, a white transit was seen in the area between these times.   Rural property owners are asked to be aware of this incident and be vigilant.   Report any suspicious activity you see to police, dialling 999 if offenders are still in the area at the time of your call, trying to note any vehicle description and registration. Thank you


Bogus Electrical Websites

Check the authenticity of websites before making any purchases on electrical goods and domestic appliances especially if the price is well below the retail price.   Conduct a 'who is' search of the website.   Check the Trusted Shops facebook page.

Surprise gifts or packages from couriers

You may receive a telephone call from scammers advising you that a package is being delivered via a courier and requires your signature.   By very wary of accepting any surprise gifts or packages from couriers which you neither expected or personally ordered especially if it involves any kind of payment as a condition of receiving the gift.   Never accept anything if you do not personally know or there is no proper identification of who the sender is.   You may be advised by the courier that a payment is due and that they only accept payment via credit or debit cards.   Using their hand held device will give them your card details and your PIN number enabling them to use your data at ATM machines.


Scam re EU Grants

Farmers are being warned to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails as fraudsters specifically target the agricultural sector when EU grants begin to arrive in bank accounts this month.   From December farmers start to receive funds from the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS).   Information about these payments is publically available meaning criminals are able to target directly victims and make their approaches appear more convincing.   Be very wary of any phone calls, texts or emails asking for personal or financial information or to transfer money to another account.   If you receive such a call hang up, wait 5 minutes and ring your bank to alert them of this scam using a phone number that you trust.   Never disclose your 4 digit card PIN to anyone including the bank or police.   Never disclose your password or online banking codes.   Never disclose personal details unless you are certain you know who you are talking to.

Fraud in Honiton

Police are asking the public to remain alert to a new type of fraud occurring in the area.   This follows an incident in the car park of Lidls on Wednesday 25th November 2015 where a gentleman was scammed out of £250.

The male suspect is described as Italian, quite tall and with black hair.   He has a pronounced nose and jaw and thick rimmed glasses, and was wearing a dark grey jacket and tan coloured shoes.   The male was driving a black car.

The offender will ask the victim to come and help them with directions, usually to a nearby airport, and in return will offer 'gifts' of items of clothing from the back of his car.   These items are believed to be counterfeit goods.   The offender will then persuade the victim that they need to give him money for these 'gifts' and will often use 'confidence trickster' techniques to either fool or pressure victims into handing over the cash.   This follows a previous report where a lone gentleman was also targeted near Turks Head on Wednesday 18th November.

If anyone is approached by a male matching this description Police advise them not to engage and call 101 if you feel pressured or the situation is suspicious.   Victims of fraud are urged to log a report with Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk.


Financial Phone Scam

Devon and Cornwall Police have received reports relating to a professionally run national scam.   This has led to many vulnerable people, who are often elderly, being ruthlessly defrauded out of thousands of pounds.   There have been a considerable number of victims nationwide, including many locally in the Devon and Cornwall area.   The average age of victim appears to be 70 years old, with losses ranging between £4,000 - £100,000+.

The offenders call unsuspecting victims pretending to be an official body, such as the police or bank.   At present the common theme is for the caller to claim to be a Metropolitan police detective.   The offenders then convince the victim that there has been some form of fraudulent activity with their bank account.   They sometimes claim to have someone in police custody who was found with the victims bank details, or that their account has, or is being used, to withdraw substantial sums of money.   The caller requests bank account details, PIN numbers and other details as a matter of urgency to prevent further substantial losses.

The caller often invites the victim to hang up the phone and call their bank or local police to confirm events.   What the victim is unaware of is that the caller has maintained an open phone line, so on re-dialling the victim is actually connected to and conversing with the same offenders throughout the whole process.   Once having attained all bank details the caller eventually tries to convince the victim to package their bank cards, seal them in an envelope and wait for a courier to arrive and collect.   On occasion the caller also convinces the victim to visit their bank and withdraw substantial sums of cash from their accounts and await further instructions, usually involving a courier as described.   The offenders sound professional, use decoding electronic devices as part of the process and even have automated messages and background music if on hold; it is a sophisticated and well planned operation which gives the impression of being genuine.

If you believe a member of the public is in the process of being defrauded or has been the victim of this type of incident, please contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 immediately.


Help Trace This Man

This message relates to Crime Reference 75188/15.   Police are trying to locate the owner of a black 4 door saloon car with a broken driver side wing mirror which was described as hanging off.   The driver was described as having grey hair worn in a pony tail and wanted in connection with an offence that took place in the Seaton area on Thursday 29th October 2015.

Anyone recognising this vehicle and its owner is asked to call the 101 no: email: 101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting crime ref 75188/15.


Theft from shed in Chard

Overnight between the 31st of October and the 1st of November 2015, unknown persons have entered a shed at Buckland St.Mary, Chard and have removed items from within including a chain saw and loppers.


Heating oil theft

Look after your Heating Oil!   Theft of heating oil has been an issue for rural areas for some time, but it can be a particular problem at this time of year as home owners get their supplies for the winter months.   Coupled with rises in the cost of fuel; oil has become a much more attractive target for thieves.

Consider the position of the tank; can it be viewed easily from the house?   If it is close to a road or pathway it is more at risk.   Think about using prickly, thorny plants to hide the tank from view, traces of blood or ripped clothing may help to identify the offender.

Be aware of oil levels and check them regularly.   Remote oil level gauge alarms are available and cost between £60 and £95; they will set off an audible alarm if the oil level in the tank suddenly drops or falls below a quarter full.   Update: unfortunately the Bobby Scheme no longer fit Heating Oil Alarms as part of their range.   Please see details below regarding companies that supply alarms.

Use good quality padlocks and lockable fuel caps.   A thief will not want to spend a long time trying to attack your tank.   Look for closed shackle padlocks, as they will be more difficult to break.   Look for quality marks and attack tested products ( see www.soldsecure.com )

If you have a plastic tank, consider screening it with a barrier.   According to OFTEC advice any screening hedge or trellis must be spaced 600mm from the tank or 760mm if it is part of a boundary and no fire barrier is erected.   Alternative options include a metal cage or grill with lockable access point across the top.   A specialist product called ‘Tank guard’ surrounds the tank with a metal enclosure; the sheet metal enclosure has lockable access doors, to allow filling and maintenance plus internal anchorage points fixing it to the concrete base.   A tank guard costs less than one tank full of oil and will last many years.

CCTV may help to deter thieves if there is very little natural surveillance.   Before you spend money on equipment make an assessment of your needs.

If you have outside security lighting, ensure that the system works and that the light sensors have been adjusted correctly to detect movement. 
Deter thieves from entering your property by using good perimeter security such as good fencing and strong lockable gates.   Maintain boundaries and perimeter fencing/ hedges.

Be vigilant by noting unusual / out of place vehicle registration numbers, and report suspicious activity to the Police.
OFTEC also offer advice and guidance to those using and storing oil. Contact www.oftec.org

Fuel Tank Alarms
www.commandersecurities.co.uk  Tank Commander alarm (Secure by Design approved)
www.check-my-tank.com  Fuel tank alarm
www.bundedtanks-shop.com  Range of fuel tank alarms
www.commercialfuelsolutions.co.uk  Watchman fuel tank alarm
www.fueltankprotection.com  Fuel tank alarm


Police Spam Email

There is an email in circulation that appears to have been sent from a legitimate Lancashire Constabulary email address.   The email appears to come from ‘Lyn Whitehead’ and is asking the recipient to pay an invoice that is attached to the email.

The email has not been generated from inside the Constabulary or by the Constabulary.   This email has not been sent from Lancashire Constabulary.  A third party supplier to the Constabulary has had their data breached, as a result of the breach this Lancashire Constabulary email address has been spoofed and used to generate spam to recipients far and wide.

This type of email is commonly referred to as spam, and if you have received it you MUST NOT open it.   Instead delete it from your email system to avoid infecting your device.

Protect Yourself:

* Do not click or open unfamiliar links in emails or on websites
* Make sure you install and use up-to-date anti-virus software
* Have a pop-up blocker running in the background of your web browser
* If you have opened the attachment and ‘enabled macros’ it is very likely that all your personal data will have been breached.   You MUST change all your passwords for personal accounts, including your bank accounts.

If you believe you have become a victim of this get your device checked over by a professional.

If you think you have been a victim of this type of email you should report it to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, actionfraud.police.uk

If you do make a report please provide as much detail as you can about the email and any effects it has had on your computer.  Additionally if your Anti-Virus software detects any issues in relation to this email please provide us with the details.

More information can be found on Lancashire Constabulary website, lancashire.police.uk/news/2015/october/email-virus-alert.aspx  and cyberstreetwise.com/common-scams.


Council Tax Scam

Fraudsters have been phoning victims telling them that they have been placed in the wrong council tax bracket for a number of years and are entitled to a rebate.   They normally say that this rebate should be worth about £7,000.   Once the victim is convinced, the fraudster tells them that in order to receive the rebate they will need to pay an administration fee in advance.   The payment they ask for varies between £60 and £350.   The victim provides the details and makes the payment, but then is no longer able to make contact with the person they spoke to on the phone.   When they phone their council about the rebate and the fact that they are in the wrong tax bracket, the council will confirm that they know nothing about it and that they have been contacted by fraudsters.

The fraudsters have mainly been targeting both male and female victims who are aged 60 and over and live in the Sussex area, but it is likely that the fraudsters will also start to target victims in other areas.

Protect Yourself:

* Never respond to unsolicited phone calls.
* Your local council won’t ever phone out-of-the-blue to discuss a council tax rebate.   If you receive a call of this nature, put the phone down straightaway.
* No legitimate organisation will ask you to pay an advanced fee in order to receive money, so never give them your card details.
* If you think you have been a victim of fraud, hang up the phone and wait five minutes to clear the line as fraudsters sometimes keep the line open.   Then call your bank or card issuer to report the fraud. Where it is possible use a different phone line to make the phone call.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.


Doorstep Crime and Rogue Traders

It is important to know your rights and to raise awareness of this issue.

You have a right to cancel a contract you’ve entered into at home.   Traders must give a consumer a ‘Notice of Right to Cancel’ which allows the consumer a cooling off period of 14 days.

You must also be given written information on how to cancel a contract.   This must contain information on your rights to cancel and is relevant to any contract that you take up in your home over the value of £35.00.

You can cancel a contract after work has started, but only if you are still within the cancellation period.   (This is if you have agreed with the trader to start works before the end of the 14 days cooling off period.   The trader must get the consumer’s written agreement on this early start).

Q: If you spot a couple of men /women up a ladder on your elderly neighbour’s roof, what should you do?
A: Never ignore it. You should speak to your neighbour - and check they are happy with the situation.   It’s good advice to make a note of the description of the workers and their vehicles.

If you have any suspicions or are concerned about door-to-door callers, please call the Police on 101.   If you think a crime is in progress always call 999.

Did you also know:

A trader breaks the law if they visit your home and refuse to leave when requested to do so.
Claiming a product is available for a limited time to pressure a sale, is illegal.
Inaccurately claiming you are at risk if you don’t buy the goods, is illegal.


Suspicious Activity

On the evening of Saturday 26th September 2015 a new white BMW 5 series car with blacked out rear windows was seen acting suspiciously in Farringdon.   The male driver was stopping and looking in all the field gateways between Farringdon Church and Farringdon Cross.   We would ask residents to report any further suspicious activity to the police immediately; and ask Farmers and Land Owners to check their gateway security.


Parcel Mule Alert

September 2015: People are being targeted to become “Parcel Mules” as part of a reshipping scam, which results in them handling stolen goods and losing out financially.

Victims are predominantly recruited through job advertisements and dating websites.   They are persuaded to have items delivered to their addresses, and to pay for postage before sending the items elsewhere.   Victims are contacted through Freelancer websites and invited to become a “Freight Forwarder” as an employment opportunity.   The work is advertised as processing packages and forwarding them to clients.

The items being delivered have been purchased through fraudulent means, including the use of stolen/fraudulently obtained cards.   The items being delivered are often pieces of electrical equipment or high value goods such as trainers, perfume and the latest phones.

If you act as a “mule” you are not only handling stolen goods, but also losing out financially.   You will not get paid the promised salary and you pay for the postage and delivery of the packages personally.   Additionally, you will have provided enough of your personal details to allow identity theft to occur.

How To Protect Yourself:

* Do not agree to receive packages at your address for someone that you do not know and trust.
* Be cautious of unsolicited job offers or opportunities to make easy money.
* When accepting a job offer, verify the company details provided to you and check whether they have been registered in the UK.
* Be wary of someone that you have met only online who asks you to send money or to receive items.   Protect your privacy and do not give your personal details to someone that you do not know and trust.

If you, or anyone you know, have been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

Assault in Honiton

Police in Honiton are investigating an assault that occurred around 03:30 to 04:00 hours on Sunday 30th August 2015, on Kings Road in Honiton leaving the victim requiring surgery.   The victim was walking down the hill towards the High Street when a vehicle approached him on the opposite side of the road.   The vehicle was travelling uphill away from town - towards Axminster.   Police are investigating the possibility that the victim was injured by an air weapon pellet or 'bb' gun pellet.   The vehicle seen in the area at the time was described as a dark blue or purple colour with blacked out windows, the same length as an estate car - but taller.

Police are appealing to anyone who has any knowledge or information regarding the assault or similar vehicle, to please contact them on the 101 no: or email 101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk quoting Police Log 697 30/08/15, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


Pets (Puppies) For Sale Alert

Aug 2015: Action Fraud has noticed a rise in reports concerning the purchase of pets, in particular puppies, advertised for sale via popular online auction websites.   The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, claiming to have recently moved abroad and the need to re-home the puppies.    Once a sale is agreed and payment is made, usually by money transfer or bank transfer, the pet does not materialise.   The fraudster will usually ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees or vet bills.

Protect yourself:

* Stay within the auction guidelines. Be wary of paying fees via a Money Service Bureau, such as MoneyGram and Western Union.
* Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller; for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with this number online.
* Request details of the courier company being used and conduct enquiries regarding the company.
* Agree a suitable time to meet face to face to agree the purchase.
* Be wary.   If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then this is probably an indication that it is!


Avoid Being A Victim Of Bogus Websites

Fraudsters have created a high specification website template advertising flat screen televisions for sale which are below market value and do not exist.   Payment is being requested via bank transfer and will offer no protection to the consumer when the television does not arrive.

Protect yourself:

* Payments made via bank transfer are not protected should you not receive the item.
* Always make payment via a credit card or PayPal where you have some avenue of recompense should you not receive your product.
* Conduct some online research on the website, company name and business address to identify any poor feedback or irregularities.
* Check the authenticity of websites before making any purchases.   A ”whois” search on the website will identify when the website has been created, so be wary of newly formed domains.   This search can be conducted here.
* If the item advertised seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.


Theft of Ride-on Lawnmowers

August 2015:  Somerset is experiencing an increase in thefts of ride on lawnmowers.   In most cases they are being stolen from secure sheds and barns.   We are advising owners to check and review their security - upgrade locks to those with 'Sold Secure' approval.   Be sure to mark your mowers with an approved marking system and to register them with Immobilise.com.   Call 101 to report any suspicious activity and check with any neighbours, who you know have ride on lawnmowers, who may not get this message.


Attempted Break-In

We have been informed about an attempted break-in in Dommett, Buckland St Mary, at 12.30am today, 11 August 2015.   Fortunately it triggered an alarm which was investigated along with large barking dog by which time the would be thieves had fled.   Other than a jemmied hasp & clasp nothing appeared to have been taken.   Tyre tracks in the field indicated they came in a 4x4 with a trailer.   A new heavier duty hasp & clasp is now bolted to the door and the field gate is chained and padlocked.

The police would like to ask everyone to keep an eye out for two suspicious vehicles, one with a trailer, which may or may not be related to the above.   One is a large black pickup and the other a black Range Rover with tinted glass.   The latter was possibly seen driving very slowly past the properties at the top of Dommett a couple of months ago.   If you have any information on these vehicles please let PC Brown 4769 know at Chard Police Station.


Rental Fraud in Student Accommodation Alert

Seasonal rental fraud is an emerging trend with students looking for suitable accommodation around August, before the start of the new term.

Fraudsters use a variety of websites to advertise available properties to rent, often at attractive rates and convenient locations.   Adverts will seem genuine, accompanied by a number of photos and contact information to discuss your interest.

Due to demand, students will often agree to pay upfront fees to secure the property quickly, without viewing the property, only to discover that the fraudster posing as the landlord does not have ownership of the property, or often there are already tenants living there.

Protect Yourself:

* Only use reputable letting companies.
* Do some online research such as using Google maps to check the property does exist.
* Make an appointment to view the property in person.
* Always view the property prior to paying any advance fees.
* Look out for warning signs, such as landlords requesting a ‘holding deposit’ due to the property being in high demand.
* A landlord will usually conduct some due diligence on any successful applicant.   Be wary of handing over cash without the landlord requesting employment or character references.


Beware of Distraction Thefts

Police have received numerous reports across the Devon and Cornwall area regarding distraction thefts which have occurred in supermarket car parks.   We believe Asian males are targeting lone females engaging them in conversation asking for directions to specific locations.   Having been distracted an accomplice enters the victims car and steals cash or bank cards.   Please lock your cars and keep all valuables and handbags with you if leaving your motor vehicle unattended even for a short time.   We ask you to be vigilant.   If you see any suspicious activity contact the Police immediately noting if you can descriptions of the offenders or registration numbers of vehicles used. Thank you.


Rio 2016 Olympics Lottery Scam

July 2015:   This is a message sent via The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales).   This information has been sent on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau).   The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has received intelligence regarding two new Lottery Fraud letters/email attachments (Scam 1 & Scam 2) using the 2016 Rio Olympics as a theme.

The scams try to trick people into believing they have won the following:

Scam 1: An online lottery prize of £650,000 and a trip to Brazil to watch the Olympics as the recipient’s email address was chosen out of a possible ten million at random.

Scam 2: An online lottery prize of £820,000 and a trip to Brazil to watch the Rio Carnival and the Olympics as the recipient’s winning numbers 8 17 34 38 42 and 51 were selected.

In order to collect the winnings the recipient is requested to contact:

  Scam 1:
Mr Dima Robert
MillMan Street, WC1N 3JB. London A5200.
Tel: +447035973561
Email: RioOlympics2016@represnetative.com
Scam 2:
‘UK Pay out Officer’
Email: paymaster-office@bol.co.br
+44 7937428753

Protect yourself from lottery fraud:   Never respond to any such communication.   If you have not entered a lottery then you cannot have won it.
Official lotteries in other countries operate in much the same way as the UK’s National Lotto.   No official lotteries that we know of contact people to tell them of their win.   We do not know of any official lottery operators who ask for fees to collect winnings - any request for a fee payment is a good indication that someone is trying to defraud you.   Never disclose your bank details or pay fees in advance.   If they have provided an email address to respond to, be very suspicious of addresses such as @hotmail.com or @yahoo.com or numbers beginning with 07 because these are free to get hold of.   Genuine lotteries thrive on publicity.   If they ask you to keep your win a secret, it is likely to be a fraud.   Many fraudulent lotteries have bad spelling and grammar – see this as a warning that fraudsters are at work.   If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.


Wine Investment Fraud

July 2015: The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) wishes to remind investors that fraudsters are still active and are using various methods to dupe victims into investing in fine wine.   Whilst it might be easy to identify a fraudulent investment in non-existent fine wine, there is another tactic which is much harder to detect that relies on limited knowledge of the investor in this specific area.

In many cases, the fraud relates to the value of the wine as opposed to the existence of the wine.   Therefore, fraudsters will be able to prove to the victims that they have the wine in stock, however the wine in stock will be significantly cheaper than the inflated price the fraudsters ask the victims to pay.   Whilst it may look like a ‘real deal’, the dramatically inflated prices make the promise of any returns unrealistic.   Assessments of reports show that fraudsters charge victims an average of 47% more than the comparative market values at the time of sale.   The brokers who typically cold call victims boast that an increasing market in China will guarantee tax free profits.   When questioned about risk, fraudsters will convincingly say that it is “extremely low”.

How to protect yourself against investment fraud:

If you’re considering any type of investment, always remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.   High returns can only be achieved with high risk.   If you get a call out of the blue, be wary; if in doubt don’t be polite, just hang up.   Take the time to seek independent legal or financial advice before making a decision.   Always check the credentials of the company you’re dealing with.   Check for known fraudulent organisations at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephoning 0300 123 2040.


Guard Your Properties

Devon and Cornwall Police would like to remind residents to be sure that you secure your properties during the summer months.   This includes making sure that vehicles are kept locked and that windows and doors are secure.   Even if you are still present at your address your property could still be vulnerable.   When having BBQs and leisure time in the garden ensure that the front of your house and garages are securely closed and locked.   Please do not make yourself an easy target for the opportunist thief.   Thank you.


Another Prize Money Scam

June 2015: People are being approached by letter and by telephone informing them they have won a large sum of money.   They are then being asked to pay either monies for "insurance" purposes or as "release fees" to get the prize money released.

There is no prize money and this is a variation on previous attempted frauds.   Residents are advised not to make payments and not to provide any personal information or banking details.   Refer any such attempts to the Police or Trading Standards.   Thank you


Royal Mail Email Scam

June 2015: A scam email is currently being sent to victims fraudulently claiming to be from the Royal Mail.   Attached to the email is the CryptoLocker virus.

The victim receives an email purporting to be from the Royal Mail stating that they are holding a parcel/letter for the victim.   The victim is then required to contact the Royal Mail to arrange for the item to be resent/collected.   By following the instructions within the email the CryptoLocker virus is subsequently downloaded to the victim’s computer.   This virus encrypts files on the victim’s system and requests a ransom be paid in order for the files to be decrypted.   Additional incentive is added for early repayment as the ransomware states that the cost of decrypting the files will increase the longer the fine is outstanding.

Protect yourself:

* Look at who the email is addressed to.   Is it generic or specifically addressed?
* Look at the quality of the images included on the email.   Are they of sufficient high quality that they could come from Royal Mail?
* Do not open attachments from unsolicited emails regardless of who they are from.
* Do not click on the link supplied.   Instead, go to the relevant website and log in from there.
* Check the address of any email received to see if it appears legitimate.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.