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Elderly warned over new €50 snatch and dash scam

CALLOUS thieves are targeting elderly homeowners in a doorstep scam.

They have approached vulnerable senior citizens at their homes, pretending to have found lost money.

When the homeowner goes to check if their money is missing, the thieves grab anything that they can lay their hands on.

It has happened to a number of people so far, with cases concentrated in rural areas of Meath.

Crime prevention officer Sgt Dean Kerins said there appeared to be no end in sight to the distraction scam.

"In these cases, a man or woman calls to a house and asks the owner if they have lost money as they have just found €50 outside," he added.

"When the homeowner goes to check their wallet or bag, the thief will snatch it.


"Sometimes, they will sneak inside the house and steal whatever they can see while the owner is another room looking through the contents of their purse.

"This scam has been a regular occurrence all over Meath in recent months and it is always elderly living in rural areas that are targeted."

Sgt Kerins urged people to tell their older friends, relatives and neighbours to be wary of the scam and of unknown callers.

"If in doubt, keep them out," he said. "Anyone who has an alarm pendant is also advised to press it if unsure of a caller."

Mr Kerins believes that a technology initiative has reduced the number of burglaries, particularly in more rural areas.

In Meath alone, break-ins have fallen by as much as 30pc since people started sending community text message alerts.

"This initiative has resulted in a substantial reduction in burglaries around the county," Mr Kerins said.

"If someone sees something suspicious, they send a text around the community.

"If a thief comes to a house that has received the text, the robber is automatically put on the back foot."

"(The scheme) is also helping to unite communities and enable them to look out for one another.