Elderly warned to be on alert following bogus garda caller incidents

Gardai are warning elderly people to be on alert after several incidents in recent days where bogus callers claiming to be gardai called to the homes of elderly people in the county.

Two incidents occured in Oldcastle and Ballinlough areas on Wednesday and two more incidents were reported in the Kilbride area, near the Dublin border and Halltown, Navan, near Dunderry yesterday. Another incident was reported in Mountnugent, Co Cavan, on Wednesday.

In each of the incidents the men who called to the homes claimed to be Gardai and showed what appeared to be a Garda badge with a story asking if the homeowners were missing cash.

At around 11am on Wednesday, two men called to a house at Mountprospect, Mountnugent, Co Cavan, producing what appeared to be a garda badge and asked the homeowner if they had last money. The homeowner refused them entry and they left in a small beige/brown car.

The same day, Gardaí at Kells received two calls in relation to a male calling to the homes of elderly impersonating a plain clothes Garda. The male was described as approximately 6ft tall, slim build wearing a peak cap and a blue surgical mask.

At around 12.30pm, the suspect called to an elderly woman's home in Oldcastle. He told her that he was from the local station and showed her a badge on his jacket. He had a number of euro notes in his hand of different numerations and asked the resident if she had lost any money. She questioned the man and didn't allow him in and he left.

About 20 minutes later, Gardai believe the same man called to a a home in Ballinlough and again asked the woman living there if she had lost money. He introduced himself a detective, showing her a badge and showed her the money that was in his hand. The homeowner immediately closed the door and dialled 999. In both cases, the witnesses stated that a large silver vehicle was observed near their homes.

A suspicious vehicle matching this description was observed by an off duty Garda who reported it driving slowly at 13.45pm in the area of Moylough Church, Dromone with two males on board. The driver was wearing a peak cap. The vehicle drove in the direction of the Castlepollard Rd and was seen at 2pm heading in the direction of Ballymanus/Ballinacree.

Yesterday, 30th March at approximately 10.35am, a male suspect knocked on the door of a home at Halltown, Navan. He was described as being in his forties, about 5’ 10 in height, of stocky build with brown/reddish hair and was wearing a blue coloured gilet jacket, brown coloured trousers and black runners.

The suspect asked the resident if her house was broken into and said he had arrested two young lads at the gate. He produced an item that resembled a Garda badge. The homeowner did not believe this story and asked him to leave. A small beige/brown vehicle was seen leaving the scene.

At approximately 11.30am, two male suspects called to a residence at Dardistown, The Ward, Co Meath. They entered the home and one produced a Garda ID badge in a black wallet. He stated they had arrested a young lad for stealing and were looking around. The occupier asked both males to leave. However, just before they left, they grabbed envelopes which contained cash. Again a small beige/brown vehicle was observed in the area.

Anyone with any information in relation to these incidents, or who noticed any males acting suspciously or any suspicious vehicles is asked to contact Gardai.

Meath Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Patrick Smyth is reminding homeowners not to open their door to anyone before they have confirmed who it is and what they want and says if in any doubt, they should phone their local Garda Station.

He is asking people to be vigilant and keep an eye on neighbours, particularly the elderly and vulnerable and to report any suspicious persons or vehicles to Gardai immediately.