GARDAI have warned that scam artists pretending to be from Irish Water are operating in Limerick.
Crime prevention officer Sergeant Justin McCarthy spoke about this and a wide range of topics at a well attended Community Alert meeting in Caherconlish on Monday night.
In the past number of weeks there has been a suspicious approach made to a child; a house ransacked and a man threatened with a knife in the locality.
Sgt McCarthy praised the large attendance of over 100 in the Millennium Centre, and all involved in Community Alert locally.
“Community Alert is the eyes and ears of the community. They are helping each other out and helping their neighbours out,” said Sgt McCarthy.
Among the issues raised were the reduction in rural gardai; lack of garda resources; burglaries; thefts and drugs.
Speakers included Diarmuid Cronin, of Muintir na Tire; John Hickey, chairman of Caherconlish Community Alert and Kieran O’Connor, managing director of T&K Alarms.
Sgt McCarthy gave an extensive presentation on current crime figures in County Limerick including Ballyneety and Patrickswell sub-districts. They are similar to Caherconlish in terms of proximity from the city.
Sgt McCarthy said in the past 12 months there were 27 burglaries in Ballyneety; 15 in Caherconlish and 14 in Patrickswell. Regarding thefts there were 38 in Ballyneety; 24 in Caherconlish and 23 in Patrickswell.
The crime prevention officer gave general advice on protecting homes and ensuring life is made as difficult as possible for criminals.
He addressed the issue of heating oil being stolen. With the darker evenings and people filling their tanks for the winter this problem is very topical.
Sgt McCarthy also spoke about the type of scams that are prevalent.
“There has been a couple of scams in relation to people saying they are from Irish Water. Usually they pick on an elderly or vulnerable person. They will call to the door and say they need to check your house and your water.
“In some of the scams they’ve pulled, they’ve asked the person to go upstairs to turn on the taps or radiators. While they have distracted the owner they are helping themselves to whatever they can lay their hands,” said Sgt McCarthy.
Over a fortnight ago an elderly lady living on Henry Street was scammed out of over €100. Sgt McCarthy said she paid them €100 for a “connection fee” and they also took money from a handbag when they distracted her.
“Irish water will not call to your door because there is no need for them to all to your house. If they do call to your house you should smell a rat. Please tell your elderly relatives or neighbours that this is one of the scams at the moment,” he said.