POLICE are set to increase patrols in Linwood amid concerns about residents being targeted by scammers and thieves.

Officers are also urging people to report suspicious activity to them immediately, as they fear many residents are turning to social media to warn their neighbours, rather than alerting the authorities.

Inspector Jim Cast said he has asked for an increased presence of officers in the area over the festive period.

He told The Gazette: “Over the course of the last week or so, I have had various reports raised of concerns from residents of Linwood that the area is being targeted by thieves, scammers and other suspicious activity.

“Whilst there has been some genuine reports, which we have acted upon, it would appear this does not truly reflect the actual reports we have recorded for the Linwood area.

“This suggests one of two things – either the use of social media has contributed to a perception the problem is greater than it actually is or there is an increase in suspicious activity in the area but it’s just not getting reported.

“In either case, it is a concern to the community and, therefore, it is a concern to me.”

Inspector Cast added: “I have asked for an increased visible presence of police officers in the Linwood area, particularly at night, over the coming weeks to prevent and deter crime.

“I would like to take this opportunity to urge the public, especially as Christmas approaches, to report all suspicious activity, no matter how small or insignificant they think it is.”

Linwood councillor Jim Sheridan raised the issue with police after being approached by several residents and members of the town’s elderly forum, who claimed they have been pestered by aggressive salespeople.

He told The Gazette: “One woman said someone came to her door and, when she wouldn’t let him in, he got very nasty.

“There are also reports of doors of houses and cars being tried during the night.

“Part of the problem is that lots of people are going onto social media sites, warning other people about what is happening, but they are not reporting it to the police.”

Councillor Sheridan added: “I would encourage those concerned to report any suspicious behaviour and I would advise residents, especially those living alone, to keep their doors locked and not open them unless they can identify the caller.”

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