POLICE have issued a warning over distraction burglaries with an increase expected in the run up to Christmas.

As part of a national campaign, officers this week are urging residents to be vigilant when greeting unexpected callers.

Pensioners are often targeted in distraction burglaries with a conman claiming to be from a utility company and asking to check the meter while an accomplice searches for valuables.

Nottinghamshire Police′s Ass Chf Con Paul Broadbent is leading the campaign.

He said: "We have chosen to focus on distraction burglaries this week because this crime can have a profoundly negative effect on victim′s lives. Research has found that 40 per cent of victims reported a change in their quality of life.

"We also know that this is an under-reported crime: research suggests that less than 10% of these types of crimes are reported to the police.

“Although there is potential for anyone to be a victim, the most typical victim is 77 years old, female and lives alone.

“They often feel embarrassed, intimidated and are scared of losing their independence.

“I want to reassure people that the police will do all that they can to support and protect victims who do come forward.”

For inform on prevention advice go to cheshire.police.uk.