Breaking News

If you know of any incidents that you think ought to be posted on this page, then please use the Comment Form.

Update 7 May 2017
1. Attempted Burglary - Ettrick Loan - 5/6 May 2017
Reported via 'Nextdoor.co.uk' an attempted burglary by two youths into a garage on Ettrick Loan. The Police were called.

2. Spring Fling Top Tips - from a Merchiston Resident
"At the Spring Fling yesterday (see below) I had a chat with the fire officer. It may well be that everyone else is already aware of the advice he gave me regarding fires in tenements, but I thought it was helpful so I am passing it on here: 

He said that if there is a fire in another flat in your building, or in the stair, the thing to do is NOT to try to get out, but to stay in your flat with the door closed and any gaps round it blocked up (towels, etc). Move as far away from the door as possible and call 999. 

He explained that your flat door should block the smoke for some time, whereas if you go out onto the stairwell you could be easily overcome. The fire service will be able to bring most fires under control without them permeating your flat - the fire officers will check on you and, in the unlikely event that they need to evacuate you, will be able to do so via the windows."

Update 4 May 2017
2. Rogue Traders - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
Trading Standards Edinburgh have notified NWS of an incident in April where persons were offering left over tarmac in West Edinburgh. Residents are reminded not to contract at the door and look out for neighbours.
·       Don't buy goods or services at the door. If someone offers to fix your driveway for cash – say no.
·       Don't feel pressurised into making a decision.
·       Don't worry about seeming rude. Genuine callers expect you to be careful
·       Look out for your neighbours and if concerned that something isn't right, contact your local trading standards office or Police Scotland immediately on 101 or 999 if you feel threatened or unsafe.
You can check trusted traders via trusted trader scheme website.  www.trustedtrader.scot/
Further contact via www.edinburgh.gov.uk/tradingstandards

Update 4 Mar 2017
1. Stolen Bike - Merchiston - 4 Mar 2017
Reported from a neighbour
"We have just had a second bike stolen from our stair and coincidentally leaflets for Jashanis Indian restaurant were being pushed through the doors at the same time. This happened with the same restaurant two years ago. They have cut through two spindles on our staircase and have destabilized the whole thing. Can everyone please look out as these things are usually concentrated in specific areas. Obviously we have contacted the police."

Update 15 Nov 2016
1. Shed Break In - West Castle Road - 7-11 Nov 2016
Reported from a neighbour:
Their garden shed had been broken into and the lock removed.
Nothing was taken as far as can be seen and there was nothing of value in the shed. 
Also, it look as if someone had tried to force a window in their garage but without success. 
It looks as if sheds may be back on the list for burglars.....

2. Suspected Car Checking - Merchiston Park - 14 Nov 2016
Reported from a neighbour:
"Just wanted to make you aware of an incident last night on Merchiston Park. I just happened to look out on the street last night about 12:25am when I spotted someone who looked like they were walking up the road very slowly. I then realised he was trying car doors and looking in cars, he then walked into my driveway and tried to get into my car.  I called 101 and reported it to the police and they said they would send someone to investigate.  Hopefully everyone had remembered to lock their cars. I struggled to get much of a look at his face as it was dark but he was wearing blue jeans, a dark jacket with a red hoodie underneath."

Update 24 Sep 2016
1. Suspicious Door Bell Ringer - from a neighbour
There's a man going around the streets in our neighbourhood ringing doorbells and, if the bell is answered, he moves on.
Brown haired, wearing grey trousers, a dark top and with a huge red oblong canvas bag strapped on his back.
He has been missing out some houses. All rather strange.
May be perfectly innocent but why ring a doorbell and then move away quickly if it is answered ?
If you see him, ring 101.

Update 14 Sep 2016
1. Attempted Burglary - Polwarth Terrace - Wed 14 Sep 2016
Attempted house breaking at Polwarth Terrace early Wednesday morning.
That's all I know!

Update 24 May 2016

1. Bogus Penalty Charge Notice - Ettrick Loan - May 2016
A report from a neighbour, alerting others in the neighbourhood to a possible scam:

"To: Parking@edinburgh.gov.uk
Subject: bogus Penalty Charge Notice sent to us

We received a Penalty Charge Notice today, using official paper, but which we believe to be bogus. We wish to report it and ask you if you can provide any more information about it.

On Monday 16 May, at some point between 8am and 4pm, someone pushed a hand-written official Edinburgh Council Penalty Charge Notice through our front door letterbox. The notice said we have a 'Two weeks grace period'. Nothing was attached to the car. No further information was given.

We are left wondering if this is a joke, or a scam. In any case, we were not happy at all. Could you please advise if there is any information you can provide about this before we contact others to warn them about this?"
------------------------------------------------------
"From: Parking <Parking@edinburgh.gov.uk>
Subject: RE: bogus Penalty Charge Notice sent to us

Thank you for your email of 16 May 2016. I have checked our system and can find no trace of any parking ticket having been issued to your vehicle. Any parking ticket issued by CEC has full printed details with a reference and information on why the ticket was issued and is not handwritten in this manner. Unfortunately I have no other information and it may be as you say some-one playing a practical joke amending a previously issued ticket."

Update 24 Apr 2016

1. Attempted Break In - Polwarth Terrace - 22 Apr 2016
A report from a neighbour residing in the 'teens' of Polwarth Terrace

"I have to report an attempted break-in on 22 April.
Window was forced, but alarm triggered.
Nothing taken, it appears.
According to police there was also a break-in at a property on West Castle Road in the same night."

Update 12 Apr 2016

1. Attempted Break In - Polwarth Terrace - 12 Apr 2016
A report from a neighbour residing in the 'low numbers' of Polwarth Terrace

"Just to report an attempted break in 2:30am this morning on Polwarth Terrace. Crow bar to our front bay window. Fortunately my husband heard and scared them off so they didn't take anything."

Have you seen anything equally suspicious?
Call Police Scotland on 101.

Update 2 Apr 2016

1. Doorway Visitors - Polwarth Grove - 27 Mar 2016
A report from a neighbour:

"We had a 'visit' from two Eastern European gentlemen on Sunday 27 March.

We generally have our front outer door open and the inner door locked and at about 10.30pm we heard a bang on the inner door. Our daughter was due back and we thought she was locked out and went up to let her in.

What we found was these two blokes in the vestibule, one of them sitting on the floor smoking a roll-up and the other one staring in through the glass door. I told them to get out and fortunately, after mumbling something incoherent, they did.

They stumbled off towards town, hung about outside another Polwarth Grove property for a bit and then staggered off up Polwarth Gardens.

We reported the incident to the police, but as they hadn't actually committed an offence at our place there was not much for them to do except drive past to see if anything else was untoward."

Have you seen anything equally suspicious?
Call Police Scotland on 101.

Update 29 Mar 2016

1. Snoopers - West Castle Road - 27/28 Mar 2016
A report from a neighbour:
"I have reported to the police on the night of Easter Sunday/Monday someone was snooping around my house.
All 3 gates aware wide open in the morning and the way the gates are they would have to have come in one side and right around the house at the back and gone out the other side as you cannot come in that side .
Fortunately we were at home and I think when they knew that they left.
There was no sign of attempted entry.
An unmarked white van has been circling the area too.
I pulled up alongside it and the couple inside sped off."
Have you seen anything equally suspicious?
Call Police Scotland on 101.

Update 23 Mar 2016

1. Burglary - Polwarth Terrace - 21/22 Mar 2016
A report from a neighbour:
"Some time during Monday evening Tuesday morning the block of flats in which we live [in the 20's of Polwarth Terrace] was broken into and two expensive cycles were stolen.
The thieves also broke into a garden shed but did not take anything from there.
They had managed to break open a security grill on one window in the garage and exited through the fire door.
Earlier on Monday evening one of the residents saw 2 youths on pushbikes cycling round the premises."
Did you see anything that might help investigators?
Call Police Scotland on 101.

2. Police Scotland at Eric Liddell Centre
Police Scotland has introduced a series of local 'drop in' sessions to enable residents to discuss any safety concerns & to obtain security advice from the local Police team.
These take place at the Eric Liddell Centre on the last Monday of every month, between 1pm & 3pm. No need to book, just drop in.
The first few dates will be Monday 28th March, 25th April, 30th May, 27th June etc.
Why not pop in for a chat?!

Update 13 Mar 2016

1. Burglary - Napier Road - 3 Mar 2016
From a resident who was recently burgled:
"Our back kitchen door was broken into during the early hours of last Thursday morning (3 March). There were no signs of an actual break in, however, the door was secured the night before. Those in question entered our house, came through the hallway & stole both sets of car keys. Hence, both our cars were gone in the morning. They also took my husband's wallet.
We believe that we were targeted and the cars to date have not been recovered.
The police were called and responded within about 2 hours.
Apart from some fresh footprints around the side of our house, where they appear to have exited, there is no other information for the police to follow up."
If anyone has any further information that they consider might be useful, please call the Police on 101.

 

Update 26 Feb 2016

1. Attempted Break In - West Castle Road - Mon 8 Feb 2016
Reported from the house owner, there was an attempted break-in on Monday 8 Feb, between about 2.30 and 5.15pm, on their front living room window.
A crow-bar was used to lever the window, but they were unable to get in because of a window bolt.
The police came and were unable to find any fingerprints.

2. Dumped Car - Polwarth Terrace - Thu 25 Feb 2016
A car was dumped outside a neighbour's home on Polwarth Terrace (not the main road bit) at 1.30am on Thu 25 Feb
It was set on fire before three youths took off in a hatchback.
This incident happened only a short time after an attempted break in....

3. Suspicious Character - East Castle Road - Fri 26 Feb 2016
A neighbour telephoned the police tonight because they disturbed a suspicious character around 7.00pm at the front of their home.
They have passed the registration of his white van on to the police as this is the third time they have now surprised this guy at the entrance of their drive-way.
Only a few weeks ago their bedroom window was raised open by a foot between 3.30 and 3.50pm mid-afternoon when they left the house to collect their son from school.
The police are scheduled to interview this neighbour in the next day about these incidents

Update 17 Feb 2016

1. Anti-social Behaviour Ettrick Loan
At 11:15pm on Fri 12 Feb, 8 to 10 youths dressed in track suits / jeans were observed kicking empty food bins and blue boxes down Ettrick Road north towards Polwarth.
If you saw this and have any information to report to the Police, please call 101 - they can often piece together incidents of this nature with other disruptive reports at the same time/in the same area.
If you can bring in any of your recycling bins/boxes once they are empty, it might also help.

2. Seagulls (from a Colinton Road neighbour)
Do you hate seagulls? Do they disturb you in your home? Are they noisy, messy and aggressive?
The council has an online petition for Seagull de-nesting in North Merchiston.
If this affects you, or those near you, please complete the form that's here, by 10 March 2016:
http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/directory_record/682902/gull_de-nesting_in_north_merchiston
It takes just 2 minutes of your time (I know as I've just done it!), and would make our neighbourhood better for everyone.

3. Teslacrypt Ransomware - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
TeslaCrypt is an aggressive new ransomware targeting Windows users, and it breaks new ground by expanding on a familiar yet successful formula.
As you may already know, ransomware is about the bluntest sort of malicious software you are likely to experience.
It deliberately locks you out of your computer or your files, and then demands money to let you back in.
TeslaCrypt also seeks out files related to tax returns, personal finance and iTunes. TeslaCrypt can locate files on connected devices and drives and encrypt those too – USB drives, network file shares, cloud storage folders, or other connected storage devices are vulnerable.
TeslaCrypt arrives via spam, either in malicious email attachments or via links to malicious websites that download the ransomware, so protecting your computers with anti-spam and web filtering software can help to prevent the ransomware messages from getting through.
Report any fraud or internet crime to 'ActionFraud' here:
http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud

4. City of Edinburgh Council Budget for 2016/17
As a result of public feedback, the Council made a number of changes to their plans, on 21 Jan 2016, which included:
· removing the draft proposal to reduce street crossing patrols
· keeping the night noise team
· maintain the current level of support for community policing
· investing £15.069million in roads, pavements and cycleways to continue to make it easier for people to get around the city
· allocating 9% of both the net capital expenditure and the net revenue expenditure of the Transport Division of the Council to cycling

The whole meeting was video recorded and can be watched here .... it's a whopping 4h33m long, but sections of it are well indexed on the right side of the website.
http://www.edinburgh.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/206829

 

Update 21 Nov 2015

1. Attempted Theft - from another neighbour on Polwarth Terrace
"Our street's crime ridden! A month ago an attempt was made to steal my scooter from our drive at number 20 Polwarth Terrace for the THIRD time!"

[the attempted burglaries in the last update email were from the other end of Polwarth Terrace, near Colinton Road]

So ... Polwarth Terrace ... remain on high alert for opportunist crime!

 

Update 19 Nov 2015

1. Attempted Burglary - from a neighbour on Polwarth Terrace, Thu 19 Nov 2015
"In April my house was broken into and my car was stolen.
Today there was another attempt to get into my property but with no luck this time.
Please feel free to circulate this to your followers to be vigilant in the area."

 

Update 30 Oct 2015

1. Buried Treasure? - from a neighbour
Whilst doing some gardening last weekend one of the residents of Merchiston Avenue found buried in the ivy in their driveway two silver serving plates and a crystal vase.
These perhaps are the spoils of a burglary, hidden to be collected later?
They have been handed into Wester Hailes police station.

If you think they may be yours, or you know the potential owners, please contact the Police directly.

 

 

Update 27 Oct 2015

Car Crime - from one of our neighbours...

The police were contacted this morning, Tue 27 Oct 2015. Youth in grey tracksuit, baggy bottoms, 5'9", dark hair, black top, late teens looking in a number of cars on Merchiston Avenue. Carries a newspaper and acts very suspiciously.

Police will respond but for everyone to be made aware that car crime is still common in our area.

 

Update 4 Sep 2015

1. Distraction Buglaries - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland

The Trading Standards Team have been informed of a series of distraction burglary incidents in the City of Edinburgh and neighbouring areas, claiming to represent businesses or the local Council.
They may produce false identification or paperwork, and do not actually represent these firms or the council.

Whenever dealing with someone at the door
> Use a door chain or latch.
> Ensure that you ask to see ID.
> Don't let anyone into your home unless you are certain that you know who they are.
> When checking ID make sure you use a number that you have found independently, not the one the card presented.
Please ensure that you let others in your community know about this alert.

Council employees will always be happy to let you check their credentials, and take the time to verify that they are who they say.
You can contact check ID with the City of Edinburgh Council on 0131 529 3030.

2. Merchiston & Polwarth Neighbourhood Watch Public Meeting
Please see the attached pdf copy of a flier that will shortly come through your door from our fabulous team of street reps.
Please talk excitedly with your neighbours about this event - the last one was a great success!
It's all happening at 2pm on Sunday 4 October 2015 at Polwarth Parish Church Hall

It will be another opportunity to engage in dialogue with:
Kathy Evans, Community Safety Manager, South Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh Council
Brian Mills, Environmental officer, South Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh Council
PC Sacha Ponniah, Community Safety Officer, Police Scotland

Please come along to hear and discuss a wide range of safety, security and environmental issues relevant to the Merchiston & Polwarth area.

Update 28 Aug 2015

Suspicious Photographer

This message came today from a Merchiston & Polwarth Resident....

We live on Ettrick Loan and just wanted to report a suspicious event today for the neighbourhood watch.
A man in his 20s-30s, slightly curly hair, wearing blue casual clothes came up to our house front door this afternoon.
He rang the doorbell and, when no one answered, he spent some time going around the front of our house taking pictures of the house with a camera.
We have no idea who he is or why he did this. Our neighbours noticed him.
Perhaps others have seen something like this?

This report will shortly be passed to the police - if you spot anything similar, call the Police on 101.

Update 26 Aug 2015

New Type of 'Problem With Computer Scam' - this message came today from a Merchiston & Polwarth Resident....

I thought I should make you aware of a new variation on the "problem with your computer" scam.

I received a phone call this morning from someone with a foreign accent claiming to be from BT. He said that they, BT, had evidence that someone had gained access to my BT Broadband, was using it fraudulently and it was causing problems with my internet access. He asked me to switch on my computer and give him access to it so that he could lock them out and rectify the problem.
I realised immediately that it was a scam so didn't give him access.

I also phoned BT to make them aware of the scam. They confirmed there were no problems with my broadband. They also said that there had been a similar incident yesterday but unfortunately the recipient had been having internet problems, thought the call was genuine and gave the fraudsters access to his computer.

 

Update 21 Aug 2015

1. Cold Callers - from City of Edinburgh Trading Standards
 
The Trading Standards Team have been recently informed of an incident involving cold callers in the Drylaw area of Edinburgh, claiming to represent businesses who have previously carried out roofing work. They don't produce any identification or paperwork, and do not actually represent these firms.
 
Victims have then been shown wet insulation or rotten wood and claims are made regarding extra work which needs done.
 
We advise against getting work done by cold callers. Get multiple quotes for any work you need done and we advise using a Trusted Trader or one who has been recommended to you by someone you trust. Please ensure that friends, family and neighbours are made aware, and report the traders.
 
Whenever dealing with someone at the door
         Use a door chain or latch!
         Ensure that you ask for ID.
         Don't let anyone into your home unless you are certain that you know who they are.
         When checking ID make sure you use a number that you have found independently, not the one the card presented.
 
You can contact City of Edinburgh Trading Standards on 0131 529 3030 or via trading.standards@edinburgh.gov.uk
 
If you are concerned about people in your area then you can also call our partners at Police Scotland by dialling 101
In an emergency, dial 999.

2. Official Approval!
The Merchiston & Polwarth Neighbourhood Watch scheme has recently received official approval from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland.
This means that we will now appear as a 'Scheme approved by NHW' on the www.ourwatch.org.uk postcode search.

3. We're now on Twitter!
In a bid to gain a wider digital footprint in our neighbourhood, we have now launched a twitter account: @MandPNW
These email updates will continue and the tweets on the twitter account will direct followers to the same information on our Neighbourhood Watch Website.
Feel free to come and follow us


Update 10 Aug 2015

1. Scam Alert: Computer Repairs - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
(Sent on behalf of Police Scotland)
A woman in Edinburgh has been duped out of £30,000 by telephone and online fraudsters.
The woman was contacted via telephone from a person reporting to be from a well-known software company. The woman stated that her computer had been running slowly and so accepted their offer to help repair it.
She was instructed to carry out a transaction on her laptop computer, which allowed the fraudsters to take control of it and install software called 'Team Viewer'.  
The woman was then told she had to make payments for the repair via MoneyGram at the Post Office or Western Union.  She was asked to then show the receipts for these transactions via online video conference.  The unique reference number on the receipts allowed the fraudsters access to the money that she had transferred.
 
Stay Safe Online:
• Never give out personal details or bank details over the phone or online to people that you don't know, even if they say they are from the bank.
• Never transfer money to people that you don't know.
• If you need help with software or computer problems, take your computer to a reputable shop to get repaired.
• If you are suspicious of someone calling you, hang up the phone.
• If you are suspicious of an e-mail, delete it without opening it if possible.

Update 12 Jul 2015

1. Scam Alert: Fifa World Cup Lottery Scam - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
We've recently received reports of a scam circulating in which it is claimed that you have won £900,000 in a "World Cup Lottery" and you are asked to contact a Mr Anthony Price to claim.
Obviously, please don't make contact!

2. Edinburgh Morningside/Merchiston Ward - @EdinSouthPolice Twitter news
10 July - Four youths arrested following calls from members of the public re youths damaging property and abusing pedestrians in Morningside.
9 July - Remember, many thieves aren't even after your car, they're looking to steal the valuable possessions you've left on display.

Update 24 Jun 2015

1. Community Beat Officers
Following a recent informal discussion with two police officers in Ettrick Road who were part of 'Operation Wrack'  (an initiative designed to address the problem of housebreaking in areas such as ours) a member of the Neighbourhood watch was information that the restoration of community beat officers was no longer a priority.
This is really saddening news.
The two officers suggested that members of the public should all be complaining to Police Scotland as private individuals.
Please consider how you might do this and copy in our Ward Councillors, particularly as the City of Edinburgh Councils pays £2.6 million to Police Scotland to provide community policing.
The contact details for Police Scotland for our ward are here:
http://www.scotland.police.uk/your-community/edinburgh/south-edinburgh/meadows-morningside/

Our Ward Councillors are here: 
http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/councillors/specificWard/9/meadowsmorningside

Please don't assume that others in our neighbourhood will do this on your behalf.

2. Police Scotland on Twitter and Facebook
If you are a Facebook user, you can following local Police issues on:
https://www.facebook.com/EdinburghPoliceDivision
And on Twitter, they are: @EdinSouthPolice
https://twitter.com/edinsouthpolice

3. Recent Telephone Scam - reported by a Merchiston & Polwarth Neighbour
"Thought I should alert you and others to a new telephone scam I encountered last week.
I was called by someone purporting to represent the telephone preference service. Knew I was registered but still receiving nuisance calls. Explained they had new improved powers to regulate this and the cost to me for this new improved service had been reduced  from  £4 per month to £1.90 .
He gave me his name "James" and telephone number to call whenever I received nuisance call to enable them to pursue immediately. Even provided me with dedicated password to use. It was very convincing. All he needed to finalise were confirmation of a few details relating to Bank Account .
Alarm bells had been ringing throughout the call since the telephone preference service is FREE but I was intrigued to see how the call would develop. Predictably it was all leading up to extracting Bank details. When I declined to oblige he ended call.
I have since established this scam has been operating for at least a year. It is clever, professional and very persuasive and I fear very successful. Worth warning others I think."

4. New Text Scam - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
For those of you are unaware, we've been celebrating Neighbourhood Watch Week all of this week and today (Wed 24 Jun) we are theming as Scam Safety day.
In the spirit of the day, we'd like to pass on some really useful information from Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) about a recent development they've seen with text message scams. 
From Financial Fraud Action UK:
Criminals are using spoof text messages which appear to be sent from their victim's bank in a bid to steal personal or financial information, Financial Fraud Action UK (FFA UK) is today warning.
 
The scam text messages claim that there has been fraud on the recipient's account or that the account details need to be updated. The information comes from FFA UK's intelligence unit – the Financial Fraud Bureau.  
 
The texts encourage people to call a number or visit a website, often claiming the matter is urgent. However the telephone number or website is actually controlled by the fraudster, enabling them to steal security details which can be used to access the victim's bank account and steal money.
 
To make the texts seem authentic, fraudsters use specialist software which alters the sender ID on a message so that it appears with the name of a bank as the sender. This can mean that the text becomes included within an existing text message thread on the recipient's phone.  

Through a second route the fraudsters take, the texts warn that the recipient will soon receive a call from their bank's fraud department. However it is actually the fraudster that then calls the victim and attempts to trick them into revealing their full security details.  
Intelligence also suggests that fraudsters are sending scam texts which appear to be from a landline number, asking the recipient simply to call their bank. This is in the hope that the victim will phone the number from which the text was sent, which is controlled by the fraudster, rather than the bank's regular customer service telephone number.  
 
Financial Fraud Action UK's advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of this scam:  

• Be suspicious of any text message that asks you to provide sensitive personal information, passwords or to make transactions.  

• If you're asked to call the number given in the text message and the number is unknown to you or suspicious, call your bank on a number that you trust – such as the one on the back of your card – to check the number and message is authentic.  
• Do not call the phone number a text message has been sent from; instead call your bank on a number that you trust.  
Remember your bank will never:  

• Phone you to ask for your 4-digit card PIN or your online banking password, even by tapping them into the telephone keypad.  

• Ask you to update your personal details by following a link in a text message. • Tell you over the phone how to respond to a text message confirming a transaction.  

• Ask you to transfer money to a new account for fraud reasons, even if they say it is in your name.  

Katy Worobec, Director of Financial Fraud Action UK, said:  

"These text messages can look very authentic, so it's important to be alert. Always be wary if you receive a message out of the blue asking you for any personal or financial details. If you're ever at all suspicious, call your bank on a number that you know. Remember, fraudsters are after your security details – don't reveal anything unless you are absolutely sure who you are dealing with." 

On a related subject, those of you who are irritated by unwanted phone calls may be interested to know that we've just released an interview with Trading Standards Scotland about callblockers and how they can solve this problem. You can watch the interview here. You don't need a Facebook login to watch it. https://www.facebook.com/neighbourhoodwatchscotland/videos/10153089617033681/
 
Here's some more information on Neighbourhood Watch Week and the activities we are encouraging people to do http://www.neighbourhoodwatchscotland.co.uk/pages/3490/1/NW_Week.html 

Update 10 May 2015

1. Doorstep Crime - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
We have continued working with Police Scotland on Operation Aristotle – We jointly respond to doorstep crime incidents, and wherever possible put out alerts to consumers, and local banks, to be aware. We've prevented a number of substantial withdrawals in this way, but there's still work to be done alerting bank staff and communities about doorstep crime. You can help by keeping an eye out for neighbours and making sure that you pass on any concerns to Trading Standards via 0131 529 3030 and Police Scotland using 101.
 
To this end, we've been involved with producing a video to be used to help raise awareness of what can happen, and how bank staff can be aware. It's about 15 minutes long and designed to be shown to bank staff in training sessions, but it can be useful for use in raising awareness amongst consumers too. https://vimeo.com/109036581

2. No Cold Calling Zones - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
 
Despite a 95% success rate from the most recent NCCZ feedback, some traders still say they don't seem to spot No Cold Calling Zones. In Gyle Park Gardens we have been conducting a trial of marking the pavements so there should be no doubt. Further details are available at www.edinburgh.gov.uk/nccz
 
This was carried out during our recent Doorstep Crime week, where the Trading Standards team and Police Scotland were out delivering materials to Medical Practices, Community Centres, Libraries. We were also out checking tradesmen at work to make sure that they were who they said they were, that the contracts had been properly formed and that the consumers had all the correct paperwork.
 
The genuine tradesmen we spoke with were pleased to spend 5 minutes being checked if it would help deter the criminals.

3. Fish Sellers - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
 
Please be aware of fish sellers cold calling offering to sell you quantities of fish. We have received reports of individuals involved in this type of practice, cold calling at people's doors, often saying that they are from the North East of England. The fish then turns out to be of poor quality, overpriced, underweight or not even of the correct species.
Your normal roundsmen selling fish or fruit & veg from their van are licensed to do so. Cold callers at the door aren't licensed at all.
 
4. Scams & Scam Mail - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
 
We have been receiving referrals from other Trading Standards departments and the Royal Mail regarding individuals who may be receiving large quantities of scam mail, and may be responding by sending cheques. If you know of someone who may be receiving such mail, you can report it to us here or via Royal Mail on 03456 113413 or scam.mail@royalmail.com You can also send the items in the post.
 
We have been intervening with those involved and helping them to understand that they have become part of worldwide criminality.
 
Again, combating scams is about raising awareness. People will often continue to believe that genuine prizes are available until the cycle can be broken. Scam mail also comes in other types such as clairvoyants and medical 'advice' booklets. 
 
Working with the Royal Bank of Scotland we were able to prevent the loss of £16,000 to a consumer who believed they were entering a lottery. In fact this was part of an organised fraud, targeting people around the world. 
 
Scams are very sophisticated – They are designed to allay your fears, reassuring you that the person you are dealing with is genuine and trustworthy. Always consider whether you actually know the person you are dealing with, get independent advice where you need it. Scams are designed to make you think that you need to make a decision there and then, depriving you of the opportunity to think about what's happening. 

We have recently been dealing with an example of investments scams for wine, diamonds and land. These scams often involving many thousands of pounds. You can find out some more about investment scams here:
http://scamsmart.fca.org.uk/
http://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/scams/investment-scams
 
5. Subscription Traps - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
 
We deal with a large number of consumers who have been victims of 'Subscription Traps'. These are often pop up adverts, designed to tempt you with a free trial of products cosmetics or diet supplements, but actually subscribe you to a monthly subscription at £90 per month.
 
The contracts are very difficult to get out of, and often the products being sent do not comply with the relevant safety requirements. Be extra vigilant online if you encounter things like this.

6. Update from St Leonard's Police Station - Housebreaking News

It is evident that windows are a source of concern for Housebreakings and a common area of entry. We are aware that sash & case windows are of particular concern and bolts can be fitted to such windows to restrict access. 

We would like to reassure you that we are taking housebreakings seriously and each day we review the activity of our officers and the locations of housebreakings. In our review we constantly look at our policing tactics and adapt these to respond to trends or predicted analysis.

The local community team are available for advice and we would welcome you to send us any concerns you have and/or information you feel is important, if so the email addresses for the local community policing team is:

EdinburghMeadowsMorningsideCPT@Scotland.pnn.police.uk

We also post regular updates on our activity (patrols, areas targeted, arrests & crime prevention advice) on our local twitter account:

@EdinSouthPolice

and we'd encourage people who have internet access to follow that or our Edinburgh Police facebook page. A simple search of the #OpRac hashtag will also give residents a detailed overview of the hard work undertaken by all officers across the division to tackle the problem.

Preventing housebreaking and catching those responsible is a key local priority in South Edinburgh. Be assured that we will continue to focus on this invasive and concerning crime and work with local residents to reduce the opportunity for criminals.

Update 25 Mar 2015

1. Car Contents Theft - Gillsland Road - Mon 23 March 2015
One of our residents has reported that the had several electrical items stolen from their car, parked in their driveway, around 5:45pm on Mon 23 March.
Please be vigilant to not leave items on show and to fully lock all doors, even when on your own property.
It is conjectured that the thieves tried several cars that evening, in the surround area.
The police have been informed of this incident.

2. Keep House and Car Keys Secure
Police Scotland have informed us that a male, using a pole through letterbox to try and recover keys from within vestibule of property in our area.
Luckily he didn't get away with it but they are asking that you be careful where you leave your house, car and other keys.
Keep them out of reach. 

Update 7 Feb 2015

1. Police Scotland Personal Security Event - TODAY (Sat 7 Feb 2015)
Police Scotland is hosting the first of their home and personal security events which will be held on Saturday, 7th February 2015 at Cameron Toll shopping Centre from 1.00 pm to 4.00 pm.
If you have any issues you wish to raise with Officers, please pop along.

2. Scam 'We are holding a parcel' Cards
Scam postcards are being delivered to UK residents' homes claiming that a parcel containing "jewellery" is waiting for the homeowner.

The personally addressed postcards say:

"The office is attempting to reach you. To claim this parcel and accept this offer, you must telephone the number below immediately and arrange for a delivery. The item is prepaid, but a processing and delivery free of £10 must be remitted. This fee can be paid only by telephone and only with a credit card (VISA or MasterCard). This is your only notification"

If you call the 020 number you are asked to pay £10 by credit card. Victims who have reported this to Action Fraud have said that the automated service told them the package would be delivered the same day, but did not receive anything. 

Action Fraud has received several reports of this recently occurring fraud and this information has been assessed by National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) resulting in disruption of the fraudster's phone number. 

Also be on the lookout for slight variations of this scam - which use different phone numbers and delivery items. 

Update 30 Jan 2015

1. Avoid Falling Victim Of Being An Online Auction Seller Or Administrator
from National Action Fraud Administrator 

Fraudsters are targeting people to list items on their behalf on popular online auction sites. The scam involves a job offer to sell desirable items at below market value and receive money from any potential buyers. The 'work from home' job will usually require retaining 10% of the money received as a "salary" and fraudsters will ask that the remaining funds are sent to them via bank transfer or money transfer.
 
In these cases the proposed items being sold do not exist and are therefore not dispatched to the proposed buyers. This will usually result in the buyer making a complaint concerning the individual who has listed the items. This can result in your bank account being closed by the bank for suspected fraud or money laundering and being held accountable for reimbursing the potential buyers.
 
Protect yourself:
> Do not list items on online auction sites on behalf of others you do not know or trust.
> Be vigilant of 'work from home' jobs which involve passing funds through your bank account.
> Meet face to face with any potential employer 
> Question job offers which seem "too good to be true".
 If you believe you have become the victim of a fraud or cyber crime, or have received a suspicious email, find out how to report it here: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Update 26 Jan 2015

1. Operation 'Comatus' - an update
(from Southside Community Policing Team, St Leonards)
 
Further to my email of last week regarding an increase in break-ins to sheds and garages in Grange, Morningside, Mayfield Road and Bruntsfield areas, I must also make you aware that break-ins to private dwellings has also increased over the last 5 days. The following areas have been affected:-

Blackford Hill,
Fountainhall Road
Hallhead Road
Gordon Terrace
Colinton Road.
Newington Road

These break-ins occurred between 1400 - 1600 hours and overnight between midnight and 0400 hours.

Please circulate to all your members that car keys are often the target during these break-ins with very little else stolen inside. Of course many residents are waking up to find their car stolen and these vehicles are being used to commit many more crimes all over Edinburgh and Lothians.
Police Scotland advise that you should keep your car keys, including spares in a locked cabinet when not in use or take them with you to your room when you retire to bed. If going on holiday without your vehicle, consider
leaving keys with a relative, friend or neighbour that you trust.

If your home has an intruder alarm fitted, then make sure you activate it on going to bed. Many people regard this as unnecessary and often find they regret it when their home is targeted.

Finally, Southside Community Policing Team intend holding home and personal security events over the coming weeks. Officers will be available to offer advice and provide literature on protecting your property and we will have items such as shed alarms, personal alarms and bike locks available to purchase. I will contact you with details of when and where these events will take place.

Regards
 
Andy Kerr
PS E3562
Southside Community Policing Team
St. Leonards

2. How to Create Strong Passwords
from National Action Fraud Administrator 

Fraudsters regularly hack into personal online accounts to obtain details which will allow them to defraud you. To prevent fraudsters, it's very important to use strong passwords when setting up and accessing online accounts and online banking.

Passwords should be memorable enough not to have to write them down and long enough to be unique and hard to guess, which will ensure they are less vulnerable to being stolen. If it is not possible to remember passwords a password manager could be used to store them securely.
 
Protect yourself:
• Make sure passwords are memorable so that you don't have to write them down. Make sure they are unique.
• Th!nk ab0ut how you could change the l3tters in your n0rmal passw0rds to make them more difficult to gue55!
• Use long, non-dictionary words and use different ones for each of your personal accounts and online banking. Make sure you change them regularly.
• Make sure passwords are not stored on devices that have shared access by other people, for example in internet cafes and when using other public Wi-Fi.

If you believe you have become a victim of account hacking, change your passwords immediately and report to Action Fraud: www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud

Update 20 Jan 2015

1. Operation 'Comatus' 
(from Southside Community Policing Team, St Leonards)
 
We are currently experiencing a spike in overnight break-ins to garages and garden sheds in the Bruntsfield, Grange, Mayfield Road and Gilmerton Road areas, resulting in thefts of bikes and power tools. In an effort to tackle this problem Operation Comatus has commenced in order to detect and deter this type of crime and prevent local residents becoming victims of crime.
 
Attached is a pdf file with 3 fliers, which outline helpful security tips for your members and ask that you circulate these to as many residents as possible. A mail drop has started in the affected areas to provide residents with this information and there will be increased patrols during the peak times.
 
I would urge your members to report any persons acting suspiciously at or near to private garages, lock-up and sheds. We will endeavour to investigate every report.
 
If you have any queries don't hesitate to contact Andy Kerr directly (Andrew.Kerr2@scotland.pnn.police.uk)
 
Thank you for your assistance.
 
Andy Kerr
PS E3562
Southside Community Policing Team
St. Leonards

Update 15 Jan 2015

1. Life Insurance Scam - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
(Sent on behalf of Citizens Advice Scotland)
We have received feedback from a number of Citizens Advice Bureaus regarding an advance fee scam that appears to be targeting Scottish households via letters.
It is from a company calling themselves 'IER Insurance' who state they are based in the Netherlands. The letter states that the individual named in the letter is to receive £24,000 on a life insurance policy taken out in the 1990's that is maturing. The letter asks for a processing fee of £20-£40 to be sent to a PO BOX number. This is not genuine and is an advance fee fraud.

2. Streetlife - more than just Neighbourhood Watch!
Are you interested in connecting with more local people and activities?
The visit www.streetlife.com
You can type in your postcode and email address and sign up to all manner of local chats with people in our area.
There are often lots of local tradesmen recommendations there too!

3. Sky Television and Broadband Phone Scam - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
We've had recent reports of scammers phoning pretending to be from Sky Television and Broadband so please make sure friends and family are aware. Sky have confirmed that this is not a genuine call.
The scammers attempt to appear authentic by asking for you by name and stating that "our information" shows you pay by direct debit. The scam involves claiming that your Sky viewing card is about to expire and that they need some information in order to send you a new one. They then proceed to ask for your sort code before then asking for the last four digits of your account number. Like many scammers they may get pushy when not given this information.
This call is then followed up by a second call where they claim you have overpaid and that they wish to refund you. It is at this point that they ask for the rest of your bank details.
A Sky Spokesperson said: 
"We would never contact a customer to request payment over the phone for a replacement viewing card. If you are due a credit on your account it's very unusual for us to ask for your bank details over the phone, if you are suspicious at all please hang up and call us on 03442 414141. "

If you've received this scam call or a similar one and given over account details you should contact your bank immediately. If you received such a call and didn't give over details, it would be helpful if you could report the incident to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

The reason these scams work is that they contact thousands of people and so, purely by coincidence, a few of these people will not only have a Sky account but may have recently completed a transaction with Sky and so will be expecting such a call.

If you receive this or another suspicious phone call...

• Remember, you do not have to get into discussions over the phone with anyone, and never give out any personal information, such as bank or credit card details. These could be used fraudulently.

• Keep your business, your business. Just say "No thank you, I am not interested" and hang up straight away.

4 The Late Andy Hunter 
Neighbours will be saddened to hear of Andy Hunter's recent death.
Andy was www.storybikes.co.uk amongst many, many other things.
A selection of articles that he wrote for Polwarth Parish Church's Newsletter can be downloaded here.

Update 22 Nov 2014

There is 1 news item in this email.

1. Telephone Preference Service phone scam, Edinburgh
Sent on behalf of City of Edinburgh Trading Standards.

The Trading Standards Team have received notification that residents have received cold calls asking if they are registered with the Telephone Preference Service.
If they confirm, the caller then states that they have paid for this service to be activated, which they shouldn't have done.
The caller then offers to refund the money if bank details are provided.

Please be aware:
Registering with the Telephone Preference Service is FREE.   
You can do this by calling 0845 070 0707 or by visiting the TPS website: www.tpsonline.org.uk/tps/index.html
NEVER give your bank details to anyone who cold calls.
Similar schemes have been operating lately which have been highlighted by our partners in Police Scotland relating to fake calls purporting to be from the bank.
Your Bank or the Police will NEVER ask you to transfer money to other accounts.

You can also contact City of Edinburgh Trading Standards using trading.standards@edinburgh.gov.uk or 0131 529 3030.

Update 11 Nov 2014

1. Crime Prevention Initiative - 15 Nov 2014
Morningside Library are hosting a Crime Prevention initiative on Sat 15th November between 2-4pm.
Police officers will be there to answer questions relating to crime prevention and give out leaflets that may be of interest to you.
There will also be shed alarms and bike locks for sale on behalf of the South Edinburgh Crime Prevention Partnership.

Update 8 Sep 2014

There is 1 news item in this email.

1. Car Damage and Theft, Ettrick Road/Loan - 6 Sep 2014
One of our neighbours reported witnessing damage and theft from his own parked car by three white males, late teens, two on cycles and one on foot at 1pm on Sat 6 Sep 2014
The rear window of the car was smashed and a plastic travelling chess set was stolen (!)
The neighbour chased them up behind Napier University.
The police were called and they reported that these youths had been creating havoc down the Polwarth area earlier in the day.
Whilst statements were being taken, another member of the public came and provided further information.
If you know of any further information that could prove helpful then please contact the Police by dialling 101 and citing crime no, CR/061455/14 which was dealt with by PC Phelps (PC 11247) from St Leonards Police Stations

Update 5 Sep 2014

There is 1 news item in this email.

1. Cold Callers offering Garden Services in Edinburgh
City of Edinburgh's Trading Standards Team would like to remind residents not to enter into any contracts at the door after a number of incidents across the city involving cold callers offering gardening services.
Work carried out has been incomplete, overpriced and of a poor standard.
If you want work carried out in your garden or home, find a reputable tradesman who has been recommended to you by someone you trust.
DO NOT enter into contracts for work to be carried out with someone who has cold called at the door.
Please ensure that friends, family and neighbours are made aware.
City of Edinburgh Trading Standards are available by contacting 0131 529 3030 or  trading.standards@edinburgh.gov.uk

If you are unsure of any callers at your door, call Police Scotland on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
Trading Standards will be informed of the call.

Update 30 July 2014

There are 2 news item in this email.

1. Opportunist Thieves Continue to Operate in our Neighbourhood
The following item was reported from a resident of Polwarth Terrace:
"About a month ago my 125cc scooter was stolen from our front garden, right outside my bedroom window! The thieves wheeled it away and tried to hotwire it down the road. They failed and abandoned it, but they smashed it up in the process. We've also had a couple of petty thefts from the front of our house (power drill, garden equipment), so there's clearly opportunists around."
Please keep on your guard and don't give thieves a chance.

2. Continuing Email Scams - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
A couple of our Neighbourhood Watch coordinators have been in touch recently to tell us about scams they have experienced.
We'd like to bring them to your attention because, although they are not new, sometimes it's easy to be caught off guard and click on something or give information over the phone.
Scammers will rely on their request sounding plausible or being topical, so it's important to remain vigilant.

Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs (HMRC) E-mail Scam  
"I received a mail from HMRC stating P6 and P6B tax notices issued for July 2014 tax form. On checking HMRC website no such forms exist. I assume this to be a scam and luckily I did not open the attachment. The inclusion of a reference to zip code led to my suspicion.  If it is a scam others need to be warned."

This is what HMRC have to say on their website about unsolicited e-mails:

Be suspicious of unsolicited emails, even if they look like they're from a trusted source.

HMRC will never send notifications of a tax rebate, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information by email. If you have any doubt that an email you receive from HMRC is genuine, please do not follow any links, disclose any personal details or respond to it. Please forward it to HMRC at phishing@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk then delete it.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Phone Scam

One of our coordinators was contacted by phone and addressed by name, and then asked for his National Insurance number as identification.  He ended the call and phoned the DWP office in Edinburgh, who confirmed this was not their practice.

Keep yourself safe from scams
Never give out contact details like your name, phone number or address to strangers or to people who should have this information already.
Never give financial information or details of your identity, bank accounts or credit card to strangers or to the businesses that should already hold your details.
Shred anything with your personal or bank details on – don't just throw it away.
If in doubt, don't reply. Bin it, delete it or hang up.
Ask friends, neighbours or family about whether an offer is likely to be a scam.

What to do if you have been scammed

GET ADVICE. Contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or www.adviceguide.org.uk
CHECK. Unexpected calls, letters, and online contacts with someone you trust.
REPORT IT. For both scams and suspected scams, contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk
TELL a friend, neighbour or relative about any scams you become aware of.

Update 25 July 2014

There are 2 news item in this email.

1. Bogus Charity Worker - a result!
You may recall in the last update email, notice from Police Scotland about a Bogus Charity worker.
I'm grateful to one of our neighbours for alerting me to the update on this case.
You can read about it here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-28271653

2. Theft of Lead from Roof in Ettrick Loan
It has been reported by one of our neighbours that on the night of 21 July 2014, a couple of thieves stripped the lead from the roof of a block of flats in Ettrick Loan.
One neighbour heard them, shouted at them, but they still escaped with the lead. The police have been informed.
This is not the first time that it has happened.
It is suspected that the thieves first ring doorbells late at night to establish whether anyone is in, before continuing their activities.

Update 11 July 2014

There are 3 news item in this email.

1. Computer Scam Attempts - from a local resident
In response to the last update email, one of our neighbours emailed the following to me, detailing two computer based scam attempts in only two days.....!

"1) By phone saying they were about to cut me off from the internet due to my computer (which was off at the time) generating streams of errors. They wished me to load a cleaning tool!
2) By email claiming a parcel could not be delivered and inviting me to print the attachment for further details. My anti virus flagged the attachment as malicious."

2. Bogus Charity Worker - from Police Scotland
Police Scotland officers in Edinburgh are appealing for information in a bid to catch a suspected bogus charity worker.
Enquiries are underway following a complaint that a man attended a property in Dalmahoy Crescent in Balerno at around 3pm on Wednesday 2nd July and claimed to be collecting money on behalf of the 'British Parachute Regiment'.
The man, who was unable to show photographic identification, stated that he had been carrying out door-to-door collections elsewhere in the area and was promising that a "thank-you pack" would be distributed to anyone who donated money.
Detective Constable Ben Leathes said: "Earlier this month we had similar incidents reported to Police Scotland elsewhere in the city, from homeowners in Hutchison Loan and Spylaw Bank Road.
"There is clearly a concern that a man is duping people into believing that he is working for the Parachute Regiment and we are working hard to trace the person responsible."
The suspect is described as white, between 25 and 35 years old, around 5ft 10in and of slim build. He has short, dark hair, with a pale complexion and with acne on his cheeks and forehead.
It is understood he was wearing a maroon beret with a wings emblem on the front, a camouflage jacket and matching trousers, and black boots.
DC Leathes added: "We would urge anyone who knows anything about the identity of the suspect or who suspects that they may have been a victim of this bogus worker to get in touch immediately.
Anyone with any information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or, alternatively, phone the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

3. Edinburgh Housebreaking Alert - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
Following an increase in the number of housebreakings in Edinburgh, Police Scotland have requested that we remind you to take some basic precautions against this crime.....

In summer, people spend more time outside and in the garden.  Please keep the following security tips in mind while you enjoy the good weather:
- Lock all doors and windows when you are out.
- If you're out in the garden, make sure that your doors and windows at the front of the house are locked and secure to prevent sneak-in thefts.
- Keep valuables out of sight and away from open windows or doors.
- Lock garden equipment and tools away in a shed or garage. Tools and ladders can be used to break in to your home.
- Use security lighting or a visible alarm to deter potential housebreakers. Gravel on pathways and spiky plants under windows can also work as a deterrent.  
 - Don't leave any keys near entry points where they can be reached through the window, letter box or cat flap.  (See this warning from PC Samson following an incident in Rutherglen)
If you're going away on holiday, make user your home looks occupied:
- cancel any deliveries
- use timers on lights or a radio
- cut your grass before you go
- ask a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property

It is not advisable to advertise the fact that you are away on Facebook, twitter or other social media sites.
You can download this leaflet issued by Police Scotland in Edinburgh earlier this year.

Update 2 July 2014

There are 5 news item in this email.
Please note that item 5 is not strictly in the remit of this Neighbourhood Watch's purpose, and it has an 'action deadline' of this Friday 4 July 2014, should you wish to involve yourself.

1. Computer Viruses - from the National Crime Agency
You may have seen in the news that the National Crime Agency (NCA) is urging members of the public to protect themselves against powerful malicious software (malware), which may be costing UK computer users millions of pounds.
Cyber criminals are currently using attachments sent in phishing e-mails to infect computers with two different types of malware:

a) A virus known as Gameover Zeus, GOZeus, or P2PZeus
This is a type of aggressive malware which infects your computer so that it can effectively be 'taken over' by the criminals. It can be used for a number of different criminal activities such as viewing your files, monitoring your bank accounts, sending emails in your name and even using your webcam to physically spy on you.

b) Ransomware known as CryptoLocker
CryptoLocker is a virus which criminals use to prevent you opening any files – effectively locking down your PC – before issuing you with a ransom demand. If you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that it will be unlocked. Once your computer is locked, it is effectively rendered useless as you cannot access your email, files, photos, music or bookmarks.

This warning is not intended to cause you panic but we cannot over-stress the importance of taking action immediately to protect your computer and your details. The NCA has taken temporary control of the communications used to connect with infected computers, but expects only a very limited window of opportunity to ensure you are protected.

What should you do to protect yourself?
http://www.getsafeonline.org/nca

Get Safe Online has set up the above page which provides various tools to detect the presence of this malware on your computer, and remove it.  The recommendation is that you use one of these tools immediately. 

2. Cold Callers Offering 'Call Blockers' - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
Edinburgh's Trading Standards team warns that companies are cold calling on the telephone offering a 'call blocker' to prevent unwanted sales calls..... How ironic!
Remind family, friends and neighbours that call blocking products are available, but to carefully research which options are right for you. Unscrupulous traders may sell you a box which does next to nothing.
Do not supply your bank details over the telephone to anyone who has called you to offer goods or services.
Decide if you want to purchase a product, and check what the product will do. Compare many different products, and don't simply go for the first one you find. Don't be railroaded into making a decision straight away.
Ensure you know the price of any product, and if there are any monitoring/monthly fees. Check for reviews of the product from a reputable source.
You have 7 days to cancel most contracts made in your home or over the telephone, and after 13th June 2014, this will be increased to 14 days.

3. Cold Callers in 'No Cold Calling Zone' - from City of Edinburgh Council
The Trading Standards Team in Edinburgh warns residents to be on their guard!
A resident was cold called within a No Cold Calling Zone and subsequently agreed to roof cleaning, and coating. The resident received no paperwork at all relating to the work.
The Trading Standards team and our partners in Police Scotland intervened at the time.
You now have 14 days to cancel most contracts you enter into for property maintenance, and you must be provided this information in writing.
You must also receive paperwork spelling out the business details of the trader, what work is to be undertaken and for what price.
The Trading Standards Team advise against agreeing to purchase goods or services on the doorstep.
Don't feel pressurised into agreeing to immediate work
Don't agree to buy from the first person who calls
Don't pay cash up front
Do shop around if you decide you need work done
Do report them!
Consider setting up a No Cold Calling Zone and report any traders who cold call within this zone.

4. Misleading Leaflets for Trader - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
We have been made aware that a trader is touting for work in Aberdeen, claiming to be City of Edinburgh Trading Standards approved. It appears that a large number of misleading leaflets may have been distributed in the area, citing telephone numbers for Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh.  
At this time of year, companies will be looking for driveway, property maintenance or gardening work. Some traders may make misleading claims about being local (using local numbers diverted to mobiles), or the quality of their work to convince householders to part with large sums of cash.
Please be aware that currently City of Edinburgh Trading Standards do not approve the work of any trader.

5. Friends of Craighouse Grounds and Wood - DEADLINE FRIDAY 4 JULY 2014
This final item is not specifically related to the activities of the Neighbourhood Watch.
However, it may very much be in our Neighbourhood's Interests
Please take a moment to visit the following website and read about the plans for the Craighouse Grounds that are just outside of our Neighbourhood Watch Zone.
http://friendsofcraighouse.com/
The planned building development would arguably look as much out of place as the recent flats that have been built on Polwarth Terrace, at the junction with Gray's Loan.

Update 27 May 2014

Gillsland Road Plant Theft - Sun 25 May 2014
Two large blue pottery planters with dwarf Xmas trees in them were stolen from outside the front door of a property on Gillsland Road.
As with the other recently reported crimes, no neighbours heard or saw anything, despite close proximity.

Update 23 May 2014

There is 1 news item in this email:

Bike Theft from Gillsland Road - from a resident
"You may be interested to know that we had two bicycles stolen from our garden shed last week (12-18 May 2014).
Someone levered the door open (no mean feat as it was solidly locked) and removed two bikes which were chained together by a heavy cable.
All while we and our neighbours above were asleep only a few metres from the shed, and the shed door is visible from our bedrooms!
Quite an audacious break-in."

Update 22 May 2014

There are 2 news item in this email:

Gully Brander Thefts - from Edinburgh Council
Over the last few days there has been a rise in the theft a gully branders (these are the steel grid covers that sit in the gully frames that drain the road) for scrap value and we are asking for people to be vigilante and report these matters to Police Scotland or roadsouthwest.vip@edinburgh.gov.uk
The removal and replacement of gully branders has serious safety and budget issues and your co-operation on this matter would be very much appreciated.

Doorstep Crime and Fake Jackets - from Edinburgh Trading Standards
Whilst undertaking unrelated enforcement action, the Trading Standards team have seized a quantity of jackets bearing utility company and similar logos.
The use of such jackets is likely to be linked to Doorstep Crime activities.
The Trading Standards team urge all residents to be on their guard against cold callers who may not be what they seem.
Make sure that you use a door chain, check and verify ID, and if in doubt do not allow anyone to enter your home.

Update 5 May 2014

There is 1 news item in this email:

Ettrick Road Burglary on Fri 2 May 2014
A house with 3 flats in Ettrick Road was burgled on the night of Fri 2 May 2014.
Kitchen windows were forced and items of value were stolen, but no fingerprints were found. Police have stated that this type of crime is not typical of our neighbourhood, and it may have been an opportunist only after certain items.
As ever, please don't give thieves a chance.

Update 29 April 2014

1. Garages Break In - 26/27 April 2014
It has been reported by one of our residents that the garages on East Castle Road and another set of garages off Merchiston Crescent had been broken into over the weekend (26/27 April 2014). East Castle Road on Saturday night and Merchiston Cres possibly early Sunday evening.

(This is a further event to a garage break-in on Merchiston Avenue, earlier in April)

2. Dropping Kerbs - from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland
If you  want to have a kerb dropped to accommodate a driveway, you need permission from the Council.
The Trading Standards Team have been called out to a number of properties recently where the work has been carried out without the required permission.  The work carried out has also been not up to standard, and will require to be redone.
It's the householder, not the contractor, who foots the bill for the rectification and retrospective permit – meaning the householder will have to pay again then try to recover the money from the trader.
Make sure that you know the implications of work you are having carried out on your property.
Competent contractors should be able to advise you on what permissions will be required for the work you want, and if in doubt ensure that you consult the Local Authority.

Update 5 April 2014

1. Suspicious Man in Ettrick Loan & Napier Loan
The following item was shared by one of our Neighbours:

"A suspicious looking man in a hoody was attempting to break into garages in both Ettrick Loan and Napier Loan on the evening of 2 April 2014, just before 8pm. A neighbour spotted him, and he ran away before the Police could attend the scene. The Police have taken statements from the residents concerned."

Update 25 March 2014

1. Missing Persons Appeal
Please see the attached .pdf poster from the Police, which is now becoming urgent.

2. Public Meeting Follow Up, from Sunday 16 March 2014
At the Public Meeting a query from a member of the audience regarding the positioning of the bus-stop outside the Polwarth Parish Church was made, in relation to its distance from the kerb and how it hindered people walking along the pavement.
Whilst not exactly connected with Neighbourhood Watch Crime Prevention, we had present at the meeting someone who would know who to contact about the problem.
We do not have the contact details of the neighbour who asked the question, so here is the full, follow up for us all to enjoy....

<------------START----------------->

From: Kathy Evans
Date: 21 March 2014 12:05:35 GMT
Subject: FW: Bus Stop - Polwarth Terrace

Nisbet
 
Good afternoon and thank you for your kind comments regarding our contribution to your meeting last Sunday.
 
If you recall, one of your group asked about the location of the bus stop directly beside the side gate. Noting they felt it got very congested with person waiting on the bus. This in turn caused difficulties for those with mobility problems or those pushing prams and buggies.
 
As promised I contacted Graham (my bus man) and below is the reply I received. Im sending it on to you, as I'm not sure who it was that raised the concerns. I hope you can pass this on to them on my behalf or include it in any future updates to send to all the members of the Neighbourhood Watch
 
I hope the above is of help. Please do not hesitate to contact me whenever you feel I can be of assistance.
 
Kind regards
 
Kathy

<----------------------------->
From: Graham Atkins 
Sent: 19 March 2014 10:13
To: Kathy Evans
Subject: RE: Bus Stop - Polwarth Terrace
 
Hi Kathy
 
Thank you for your email.
 
The bus stop at Polwarth Parish Church is very long established and has for all of my career in Edinburgh existed at this location, so that's at least 26 years.
 
I have replaced the bus shelter at this location twice in this time. The simple reason why the shelter is set back from the kerb edge is that there is a requirement under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 for all items of street furniture, such as sign poles, guard railings, traffic signal posts, traffic signal control boxes and street lights, all to be set back from the kerb edge by at least 450mm, and where possible between 500mm and 600mm.
 
This is specifically to prevent passing road vehicles coming into contact with street furniture as they pass by. Bus and lorry wing mirrors are a classic in this respect and even the type of camber on a road which as you will be aware, has a curved profile, can influence how close items such as wing mirrors might come into contact with road signage.
 
The footway at Polwarth Church is narrow with only about 1.9m width and there is no scope to alter the position of the bus stop which is convenient in its current location, as to reposition the stop would move it from the current demand centre! Unfortunately, there is also no scope to create a build out or bus boarder at this location because of the current road layout which could otherwise create a localised widening.
 
Ideally, road sign poles and street lights are best installed at the rear of footways to minimise vehicle contact and to negate the requirement for the minimum set back distance required.  At this location there is a simple decision to be made and that is, if the current shelter layout is considered problematic, then a removal of the shelter might be considered, but this wouldn't necessarily help if waiting bus passengers then still failed to move aside for other pedestrians.  Alternatively, repositioning the shelter with its protective screen against the church railings could help, but again such a move might not offer the same amount of protection form traffic spray as the current position, but would instead provide a wind screen to weather from the north. Of course such a move would then make it difficult to paint the church railings.
 
Ultimately, a compromise has to made after a significant amount of thought has gone into the site assessment prior to installing a shelter at a particular location.
 
By the way there is equivalent road legislation in England about kerb edge set back, so it's not purely a Scottish phenomenon.
 
I trust that this explanation is useful to you.  If you have any other queries please get back in touch with me.
 
Kind Regards
 
Graham Atkins
Public Transport Officer

<--------------END--------------->

Update 23 March 2014

1. Garden Shed Break-Ins (from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland)

Break-ins to garden sheds and thefts from gardens are common at this time of year.
Edinburgh is no exception this and there have been a number of break-ins to sheds reported across the city recently.
Many criminals consider this type of crime to be low risk/high return as they don't have to force entry to your home and the goods they can get there are as valuable as anything in your house. 
They can also find tools in your shed that can be used to force entry to your house.

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prevent this type of crime:
• Use a good quality closed shackle padlock on your shed door and the hasp and door hinges should be attached using coach bolts rather than screws to prevent simple removal.
• You should keep valuable items in the house but if they must stay in the shed, chain and lock them up.
• Lace a chain through the handles of garden forks, spades, bicycles etc.  This will prevent a thief from being able to remove single items. Remember tools from your shed can be used to force entry to your house.
• Security mark your bicycles, lawnmowers, toolboxes and garden furniture, by engraving, painting or using a security marker pen.
• Fit a wire mesh grille to protect your shed window.
• Install security lighting to illuminate your garden.
The following links will take you to video clips with advice on making your perimeter and garden shed more secure, all recorded by Edinburgh Police:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3snJSfvqy4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwSE1IV5mSs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GE58poUg1M

2. Public Meeting Short Report, from Sunday 16 March 2014
There was a good turnout of Neighbours at our Public Meeting last weekend.
The speakers delivered an excellent presentation that was very relevant and highly localised to our Neighbourhood, and the questions from the assembled audience were responded to with both clarity and insight.
The conversation topics covered many topics, including graffiti, dog fouling, BBQs on Harrison Park, anti-social behaviour from neighbours, pot-holes and pavements, fly-posting, fly-tipping, fixed penalty fines, vehicles with running engines and all manner of initiatives and proactive action taken by Wardens and Police in reducing these 'low-level' crimes.

If you have any specific ideas or requests for speakers for future public meetings, then please do make contact - we would love to hear from you!

Update 15 March 2014

There are 2 news items in this email, both coming to us from Neighbourhoodwatch Scotland, and one reminder:

1. Fake promotional materials, Edinburgh
City of Edinburgh Trading Standards have had reports of fake promotional materials being delivered in the Edinburgh area (non area specific). The leaflets are designed to look like well known, reputable companies but the details are incorrect, connecting callers to unknown individuals as the 0800 numbers divert to mobiles.

If you receive leaflets or other promotional materials through your door, please take care to check that details are correct by using a telephone book or the internet before contacting the company. 
Always make sure you know who you are dealing with, and shop around for the best deal before making a purchase.

Please see visit Trading Standards for more information on keeping yourself safe: www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/264/trading_standards

2. Blood test results spam e-mail
We were alerted this morning to a spam e-mail currently circulating, claiming to be from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). 

The e-mail tells the recipient that they have a low white blood cell & platelets count after a complete blood count (CBC) and there is a suspicion of cancer.

The recipient is instructed to download and print out the CBC test results from the attachment and visit their doctor as soon as possible.   The attached zip file contains the hiddentext/worm.gen virus.

This message may cause genuine concern to people if they are awaiting test results or are unfamiliar with spam e-mails of this type.   They may download the attachment out of worry and infect their computer.

Information and advice on dealing with spam e-mails can be found at Get Safe Online.

 

January Update - 23 Jan 2014

1. Parcel Delivery Scam
We've had reports from police in South Lanarkshire of a scam where residents are unwittingly being used to assist criminals carry out theft from mail order companies.
The householder receives a handwritten note stating that a relative of the writer has mistakenly sent a parcel to the wrong address, and would the householder please accept it.  The parcel is delivered, and the householder may be asked to sign to say they have received it.  The parcel is then collected by the person who wrote the note.
It is believed that the parcels are fraudulent purchases.  As the wrong address is being used, the offender cannot subsequently be traced.
The police advise that "you are not obliged to receive deliveries for neighbours. However we all like to help therefore it is recommended that you only take in goods or deliveries for neighbours that you know and only after checking that the name and address are correct on the parcel."
Never give the parcel over to an unknown third party. You have signed for it and could be pursued by the supplier.

2. Cold Calling Gardeners in Baberton Area
The Trading Standards Team have received reports of cold callers in the Baberton Area of the City offering gardening work.
The police advise against contracting with unsolicited sales callers. If you require work to be carried out at your property then get multiple quotes from tradesmen that you trust.
Use a door chain or bar when dealing with people at the door
Check ID
Close the door if you are telephoning to verify ID
DO NOT call mobile numbers to verify ID (These begin 07...)

3. Telephone Cold Callers Offering to Block Nuisance Calls
Edinburgh's Trading Standards Team are warning residents to be aware of people cold calling, offering to sell telephone services to block nuisance calls.
The irony isn't lost on us either.....
A local resident has recently been called promising call blocking technology for a small cost, and so provided bank details. The call was then terminated, and over £80 was then removed from the account.
DO NOT provide bank details over the telephone to companies that you don't know.
If you are uncomfortable or a caller won't identify what company they are from, then simply hang up.
Registering with the Telephone Preference Service can help to reduce calls from legitimate companies, but is unlikely to affect calls from out and out scams. 

4. Invitation to Public Meeting on Sunday 16 March 2014, 2pm Polwarth Parish Church.

From Nisbet Gallacher, Convenor of the Merchiston & Polwarth Neighbourhood Watch
 
Dear All,
 
I hope 2014 has started well for you and that it will be a safe and happy year for our neighbourhood.
As a contribution to that, I write to commend to you attendance at our next public meeting which will take place
in Polwarth Church Hall on Sunday 16 March at 2pm.
This time we are privileged to have as speakers -
 
            Kathy Evans, Community Safety Officer, South Edinburgh, CEC,
 
            who will be supported by one of her Environmental Officers
 
            and
 
            PC Mark Love, one of our local Community Police Officers.
 
They will explore a range of matters of safety and security, and relevant environmental issues, and will be ready to field any questions we have.
 
I hope to see you at what should be a very interesting meeting. All local residents are very welcome.

Nisbet

 

Breaking News - 25 Nov 2013

Burglary on Polwarth Terrace - Sat 23 Nov 2013
Some time between 4:30pm and 8pm on Sat 23 Nov a property on Polwarth Terrace was burgled. This info came from the owner:
"Our house is semi-detached, backing on to the canal, and they entered from the canal side as access to the side of the house is impossible.
Unfortunately our burglar alarm developed a glitch, and did not go off.
They broke into a garden shed and used a spade and a fork to break through a fairly secure kitchen window.
We lost jewellery, a laptop, a tablet, an iPhone and some cash.
No fingerprints were able to be recorded from the scene."

Please be vigilant for any unusual behaviour that may be linked to this distressing crime.

 

November Update - 24 Nov 2013

Mass Email Spam Attack Warning
The National Crime Agency put out a warning on 15 Nov 2013 relating to 'mass ransomware spamming event'.
Read all about it here.

Potential Green Deal Scam
We have been notified by a Neighbourhood Watch coordinator in Argyll of a potential scam.
One of his older neighbours received a phone call from a person who said they were from the Green Deal scheme.
The caller asked for £150 upfront for an assessor to visit.
As with all cold-callers who ask for money, we would recommend that you do not give them any personal or financial details.  If you are interested in finding out more about the Green Deal, please see the Government website: www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures/how-the-green-deal-works 
It appears that this type of cold-calling has been going on for a number of months in England and Wales, but it does not appear to have been widely reported in Scotland.  More information on instances of the scam in England can be found at the Action Fraud website, and the Which website.  

Have your say on Edinburgh's safety priorities.
Police Scotland, City of Edinburgh Council Community Safety staff and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service want your help creating the next Edinburgh Local Policing Plan, and are asking people 'What 3 priorities would you like your local Police to focus on?'
You can fill in this online survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/EdinburghLocalPolicePlan2014-17
Nearly 2000 people have completed this survey to date.
The results of this survey, together with the results of the other public consultation formats that we are using, will directly influence the setting of these policing priorities throughout Edinburgh.
The survey link ends on Christmas eve.

October Update (part 3) - 18 Oct 2013
Date for Next Neighbourhood Watch Public Meeting - 16 March 2014
There were several logistical issues that prevented the annual Neighbour Watch newsletter and public meeting from taking place earlier in 2013.
We are pleased to confirm that things are on track to be back to normal in 2014.
More details to come, but please note the date of 16 March 2014 in your diary, for a public meeting starting at 2pm that will involve....
- South Edinburgh's Community Safety Manager
- one of South Edinburgh's Environmental Officers
- our local Community Police Officer, PC Mark Love
- and you!

'Telephone Preference Service' Scam
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre made us aware of this scam:
Reports have been received from members of the public being cold-called by telephone, where the caller claims to be calling from the Telephone Preference Service (TPS).
The caller advises that there have been a lot of nuisance calls in the resident's area and that they can stop all nuisance calls for a one off payment or a monthly fee which can vary from call to call.
For this fee the caller claims to be able to send a 'device' that plugs into the telephone socket or attaches to the telephone that will stop nuisance calls.
The Telephone Preference Service is - in fact - a free service and are aware of these types of scams and other scams where callers claim to be calling from the TPS.
We would advise you never to provide your personal or bank account details to anybody over the telephone unless you are satisfied that you have verified the caller's details and that they are genuine.
If you've received similar calls and think you've been scammed you should report it to Police Scotland or Action Fraud. Police Scotland can be contacted on 101, Action Fraud can be contacted online by visiting their website or via telephone on 0300 123 2040.

October Update (part 2) - 10 Oct 2013

Polwarth Terrace - Multiple Thefts
From a local resident:
"Just to report that twice this year the wheels have been stolen from our car, jacked up and left on bricks, and also my bike was stolen from the garden shed, also a lawnmower stolen from our garden in Polwarth Terrace"

Merchiston Crescent - Middle of the Night Disturbances
From a local resident:
"For the past 3 months we have been woken up in the early hours of the morning by 2 ladies walking down the middle of Merchiston Crescent shouting and blaring at each other. This happens on a regular basis (around 4 times a week) and can be from anytime between 3.30am - 6am. They have a dog, one has a Glaswegian accent and they fight, shout, swear, and punch each other. I have raised an incident with the council and police - if you are also being affected by this please do the same."

More Suspicious Traders
Message from City of Edinburgh Trading Standards:
"This week the Edinburgh Trading Standards team have been out at an incident with officers from Police Scotland and prevented a consumer parting with £10,000 for property maintenance work. A friend of the family alerted authorities about a suspicious workman incident and officers attended the scene."
"We have also been informed that individuals may be in the Edinburgh offering suits door to door - Don't be caught out by promises of a bargain!"

October Update - 5 Oct 2013

Breaking News - Stolen Bath
A cast-iron roll-top bath was removed from at garden on Polwarth Terrace between 1-5pm on Friday 27 September.
It must have taken between 3 and 4 people move to remove the item.
The police have been advised.

Suspicious Traders
City of Edinburgh Trading Standards received reports on 3 October from residents in a No Cold Calling Zone in the Barnton area of Edinburgh who have been approached by two men selling cheap garden furniture from a van.
The men are wearing jumpers with 'Chelsea Gardens LTD' on them.
If you have any information relating to the above - including a description of the vehicle - or if you have been approached by the men, please get in touch with the Trading Standards Duty Officer on 0131 469 5683.

Online Banking Scams - from Scottish Neighbourhood Watch
One of our coordinators got in touch to let us know about a recent online shopping trap he and his wife had encountered.  Here is his story in his own words: (it's a bit long, but well worth reading....)

"My wife ordered a silk scarf online from a store in Northern Ireland.  Just as the ordering and payment procedure ended, having paid by credit card, there appeared on screen an advert for a free sample of Lift Serum Pro (an anti-wrinkle product) from a company also called Lift Serum Pro. All one had to pay was £1.99 P&P. Both my wife and I thought that this was a free gift offer run by the store for ordering one of their products. So I gave the card details to pay for the £1.99 P&P and our address. That was the mistake - they had my card details!  However we suspected nothing.

The scarf duly arrived - no problem. A few days later the Lift serum arrived, posted from a Czech Republic address - again, no problem. However, on the 18th July I received an e-mail from this company informing me that they were sending 'a friendly reminder that the next product was on its way'! I immediately e-mailed them saying that I hadn't subscribed to any of their products, nor ordered any more and that the product received was a free gift and to unsubscribe me from their mailing list. They replied that they had now followed my instructions but any product in transit couldn't be stopped. I decided to treat that product, if/when it arrived as an unsolicited gift.

Then, a few weeks later, my wife's credit card monthly statement arrived by post. The statement included two charges, both for Lift Serum Pro, the 1st for £84.71, (despite being the 'free gift') the 2nd for £89.66, a total of £174.37!!  

We immediately contacted our credit card company, who put us through to their Fraud Dept who informed us that they had had quite a few similar complaints from their customers concerning the company Lift Serum Pro.  The credit card company undertook to handle the complaint, put a stop on my wife's card and are taking action against the Lift Serum company for the recovery of the monies for their customers. The credit card company deducted the £174.37 from my wife's account. We have heard nothing since.

As you know, many people don't check their credit card statements, just pay up and shut up! According to credit card company's fraud department this 'scam' is fairly common at the moment involving Lift Serum Pro."

So the moral of the story remains:
- When shopping online, keep the following advice in mind:
- Be wary of 'free' trials, particularly in 'pop-up ads' or pages that show up where they shouldn't
- Do an internet search for products or services offered 'free', this may flag up any problems other people have had
- Always read the terms and conditions associated with any offers
- Make sure you know which company you are buying from and do not give credit card details to companies you don't trust
- Always check your credit card statement and look for unexpected charges

 

July Update - 15 Jun 2013
1. Breaking News - Burglary in Polwarth Grove
A house in Polwarth Grove was burgled in the past few days. It would appear that a locked window to the front was jemmied.
The incident came to light when neighbour noticed the back door was not quite closed.

2. Rogue Landscapers in Gilmerton Area (they could be in our area next....)
Neighbourhood Watch Scotland has had a report of Landscapers working in the Gilmerton area who are cold calling, overcharging, carrying out poor work and failing to provide cancellations rights. If you have any information please telephone 0131 529 3030, quoting reference APP-526488.

3. Police Scotland Launching the Community and Alcohol Partnership (CAP)
Date: 17 July 2013, from 10am-12pm.
Venue: Meadowbank Sports Centre
Police Scotland really want to give this event the justice it deserves and are particularly with attendance and support from 12-18 year olds.
There will be prizes available on the day that include free tickets for forthcoming Hibs football matches and a private guided tour of their stadium!
If you have family or friends whose children may wish to come along please get them involved. 

More information can be obtained from:
Melanie Dawson (PC 11024)
Portobello Police Station
0131 311 5842

4. Free Window Blind Cord Cleats
Edinburgh's Trading Standards team are working with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to highlight potential dangers in the home, especially to young children, from the cords of window blinds.
Curtains or blinds with a chain or cord loop pose a particular risk to young children.
Tragically at least one child fatality occurs in the UK every year.
Research indicates that most accidental deaths involving blind cords happen in the bedroom, and occur in children between 16 months and 36 months old, with the majority (more than half) happening at around 23 months.
For more information and to request your free cleats visit:
 www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/276/consumer_advice/1906/consumer_advice-safety/6

5. Warning Over Cold Callers
Neighbourhood Watch Scotland and Perth & Kinross Trading Standards have received reports of residents receiving cold calls from a security company offering 'free' intruder alarms.
Information from other parts of the country suggest that these companies are using hard sell tactics to persuade residents to take these alarms at extortionate prices or giving them away free but signing people up to very expensive monitoring contracts.
They may suggest that they are working with the Police, Crime Prevention UK or some similar organisation, the Police and other similar organisations do not recommend or endorse any security systems.
They may also suggest that the offer is in response to a local crime or incident.
If you have any information about scams and bogus callers please contact your local trading strandards service or the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506 or www.adviceguide.org.uk/scotland.
Information provided, no matter how insignificant you may think it is, may assist current investigations and can provide essential intelligence.

Cycle Crime Prevention - 4 Jun 2013
If you own a bicycle and are keen for it to remain in your possession, then here are a couple of opportunities that you may be interested in:

1. See the attached flier for events in June and August where you can have your bike electronically tagged and UV marked.

2. Bike Locks are available from the St Leonards Police Station front counter, for £15. PC Euan Stobie says that they 'are of a high standard'. What greater endorsement could you ask for?!

More Car Crime - 22 May 2013
Two cars on Polwarth Terrace had their windows smashed during the night of Wed 22 May.
Both were at the east end of Polwarth Terrace, between East Castle Road and Merchiston Place

Car Crime - 22 May 2013
A car on the street outside the Christian Community on Napier Road had a side window smashed.

Red Cross Collections 1 Jun - 30 June
PC Mark Love has informed us that legitimate Red Cross Collections will be taking place in our neighbourhood during the Month of June.

Cash Machine Scams - 22 May 2013
Police have reported that cash machine scams had been perpetrated over a wide area, including BOS cash machine at Holy Corner & RBS cash machine at Bruntsfield Road.
Several Merchiston residents have been scammed.
Other cash machines have also been sabotaged elsewhere - however, Police have not given specific locations in case further machines are scammed.
Residents are advised to check their bank statements asap & very carefully for instances of fraudulent cash withdrawals!

Two specific scams have been reported - both well known scams but the first time perpetrated in Merchiston.:
1. A tiny miniature camera is fitted by criminals to the top of the cash machine. Criminals used this to video the PIN numbers customers used & the criminals were later able to use these PIN numbers on counterfeit cards.
2. Cash machines were doctored by criminals to retain/swallow cards inside machine, so that customers could not extract their card. The criminals are later able to retrieve them and then use the cards to withdraw cash.

There is an article in today's Scotsman newspaper:
http://www.scotsman.com/edinburgh-evening-news/latest-news/card-skimming-devices-found-at-edinburgh-banks-1-2939803
and on the BBC website:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-22624196

Car Crime - 21 May 2013
A car on Polwarth Grove was broken into overnight and a Sat Nav was stolen.
The police have been informed

Napier Road Incidents - May 2013
One Napier Road resident left her car parked on the driveway, unlocked, and somebody helped themselves to contents.
Another resident left their patio door unlocked and somebody gained access to their house and stole a laptop.

Week of 13 -17 May 2013
A neighbour on Napier Road saw suspicious activity with a van parked on the street late at night. He approached the driver and the man had an unlikely story as to why he was loitering.

Thursday 16 May 2013 - Suspicious Man
At about 1:30 am on Thursday 16 May 2013, a resident of Polwarth Terrace near the junction of Colinton Road looked out their lounge window and saw a man walking in the front gardens of the flats opposite. The man stopped and knelt behind the hedge and then got up, walked on to near the end of the flats and knelt again. He then left the gardens, walked on and then crossed over and started to walk back stopping and looking up the driveways of several properties, but not entering them.
A few minutes later he was seen running up Grays Loan.
The man was white, about 5ft10in to 6ft tall, slim and balding. He was thought to be in his thirties wearing a dark grey jacket and dark trousers. He did not appear to be drunk.

This information has already been provided to the police and they suggested that it be circulated further afield - hence this email. If you notice anything suspicious, then please call the police on the new non-emergency number 101.

May Update Email - 11 May 2013

1. 8 Police Forces now combined to form the Police Service of Scotland
On 1st April 2013, the eight existing Scottish police forces were replaced by a single national police force called the Police Service of Scotland.
The service will be overseen at a national level by a governing body, the Scottish Police Authority (SPA). 

2. New Police Website and Contacts
PC Mark Love can now be contacted on: Mark.Love@scotland.pnn.police.uk
The webpage of the new Police Website of relevance to us:
http://www.scotland.police.uk/your-community/edinburgh/edinburgh-south/meadows-morningside
The new Non-Emergency Telephone number is now 101, and applies throughout Scotland

3. Merchiston/Polwarth Crime in April 2013
In mid April, a group of criminals hit a number of sheds, bike sheds, garages and cars in our neighbourhood, snipping padlocks of any that were locked and at least one car window was smashed.
The rear tenement door of a flat on Rochester Terrace was kicked in and they spent some time in the rear gardens/garage of Rochester/Mardale/Merchiston, in either garages or sheds.
If anybody has any information or has suffered similar breakins around that time please contact the Police (officer investigating is PC1162 Paterson from St Leonards.)

4. Performance Statistics
In spite of item 3 (above), crime in Lothian and Borders continues to fall.
There was a 13% fall in crimes committed against individuals, compared to same 9-month period last year. Taken as a whole, detection rates across these types of crimes improved by two percentage points compared to the same period last year.
Response times have recently improved and that there had been decreases in the level of violent crimes, vandalism, fire-raising and crimes of dishonesty.

5. No Cold Calling Zones
The City of Edinburgh Trading Standards Department has recently completed a project receiving feedback on some of the existing No Cold Calling Zones.
Over 1200 residents have now provided feedback on their zones.
92% of residents have indicated that they have noticed a drop in cold callers since their zone has been set up.
89% of residents have also indicated that they feel more confident in refusing doorstep callers since their zone has been set up.

A new No Cold Calling Zone has been recently established incorporating Barnton Gardens and Cramond Road South. Thanks to the hard work of local resident Tim Mitchell distributing questionnaires and stickers, the zone has been approved.

If you are interested in setting up a zone, please contact: trading.standards@edinburgh.gov.uk
Alternatively, email our Neighbourhood Watch Chairman Nisbet Gallagher: nisbet@neighbourwatch.org.uk
To set up a zone, at least 51% of residents must indicate their support for the scheme.
Details and a list of existing No Cold Calling Zones are available here.

6. Trading Standards and Rogue Traders
Cold Callers selling insulation have been seen within the Howdenhall/Alnwickhill No Cold Calling Zone, carrying out an 'energy survey' which is allegedly linked to the council, and may even carry something resembling council ID.
This is believed to be false - do not allow these people into your home!

Additionally, last month, some reports of potentially rogue workmen have been received.
They have been seen operating in the Mortonhall area and a resident has paid £3000 for gardening work.
No paperwork at all was provided, and very little work appears to have been done.
The Trading Standards Team are currently investigating, and attempts are being made to have the cheque stopped.

Trading Standards and Police Scotland intervention yesterday saved a householder £5000 for work which may be unnecessary, and had started when an offer of free house painting in exchange for advertising had allegedly uncovered a dangerous chimney.
Officer from Oxgangs Police station called in the Trading Standards Team yesterday when a concerned resident had called the Police.
Luckily a bank transfer had not been completed and, after taking advice from officers, the householder decided to get some other quotes.
A Trading Standards investigation is now been carried out into the business involved. 
Joint Patrols were carried out later in the day to check other traders in the area and ensure compliance with legal obligations.

Be cautious of people calling at the door telling you that work needs done on your home.

When contracting for work on your property, ensure that you know (and have written down):
• Exactly who you are dealing with (names and business names)
• Their address and telephone number
• What the work will be
• What the cost will be
Get second quotes before agreeing to have work carried out to make sure you really need it!

In most circumstances when agreeing to work at your home, you will also be entitled to a 7 day cancellation period – you must be told of this in writing and you must agree specifically, in writing, to any work which starts before then.

7. 'Phishing' Emails
For more advice on not falling victim to these, please visit www.banksafeonline.org.uk.

Garden Shed Crime - 1 May 2013
A garden shed of a Merchiston Crescent property was broken into.The culprits did not steal anything, which was odd, but they removed all the screws from the hinges and gained access. The Police have been informed.

February Update Email - 15 Feb 2013

Dear Merchiston & Polwarth Neighbour,

This email contains 3 items that have arisen since January's update email:

1. Annual Newsletter and Public Meeting for Merchiston & Polwarth Neighbourhood Watch
In recent years you would have all received by now a Newsletter and details of the forthcoming Public Meeting.
2013 is not quite following the same plan, and there have been a few setbacks to our normal schedule.
At present, we are assembling the components for a topical and relevant Public Meeting that will happen later this year.
Further details will come to you in due course.

2. New Community Officer for Bruntsfield/Merchiston/Polwarth
Following the departure of PC Alan Hopper, we can welcome PC Mark Love as our new Community Officer.
He can be contacted directly on mark.love@lbp.pnn.police.uk or via St Leonard's on 0131 662 5096.

3. Two Scams.....

a) One local resident has recently reported the following:

"I have just had a call from Penicuick windows asking if I am aware of the Window Scrappage Scheme – same as car scrappage. I have done a little research and this seems to have been started by Anglian Windows as a marketing ploy. They had an advertorial in the Guardian. There seems to be no such scheme. Grants will not be available."

b) Neighbourhood Watch Scotland recently circulated the following:

"We've received reports from Fife of a familiar scam re-emerging.
 The scam involves an unsolicited telephone call claiming to be from Microsoft, your internet provider or even sometimes a Government body. 

The caller states that there are problems with your PC and claims that they can fix them for you. 
They may provide a website or a telephone number and a contact name in order to seem genuine.
They are not genuine.
They cannot tell if your computer has problems.

Ultimately, they may ask you to give them remote access to your computer so that they can 'fix' it. 
What they will do is install malicious programmes like viruses and spyware, with the intention of stealing personal or banking information from your machine.  
An alternative is that they will try to sell you worthless anti-virus protection and then take money from your bank account.

If you receive a phone call like this:
- Hang up!  
- Do not give the caller any personal or banking details
- Do not allow the caller remote access to your computer

If you are worried that you may have been a victim of this scam:
- Contact your bank 
- Run a full anti-virus and security check on your computer
- Get your computer checked by an expert

Here is what Microsoft say about this scam: Online Privacy and Safety
Some more information about the history of the scam can be found at Snopes.
Visit Get Safe Online for information on protecting yourself online."

Various Items - 8 Jan 2013
1. PC Alan Hopper (the Community Officer for Bruntsfield and Merchiston) is moving on to new ventures.
From Monday 14 January 2013,  he will be taking up the role of Royal Edinburgh Hospital Police liaison officer.
PC Mark Love (5274A), will be our new Community Officer.

2. All Residents are invited to a 'drop-in' event taking place at the Business Centre, City Chambers on the evening of Tuesday, 15th January 2013.
The Police are very keen to hear what you have to say about their proposals for the Edinburgh Local Policing Plan 2013/14 so we would encourage you to make your views known to them by attending.
The event will take the form of a "market place" and is open from 7.00 pm to 9.00 pm and you will be welcome at any time throughout the evening.

Various Items - 6 Jan 2013

1. Police have again reminded us to remove all valuables from cars overnight, and to wipe away suction marks on windscreens.  

2. The 'Little Book of Big Scams' is available for direct download from Strathclyde's website:
http://www.strathclyde.police.uk/keep_safe/safety_advice/personal_safety/the_little_book_of_big_scams/

3. Police again ask us to remember to stop and think if someone calls at your door or on the phone and is looking for personal or bank details.  

4. PC Vicki Shaw (Community Officer) is switching roles within the Force with effect from Mon 7 Jan 2013. She will still be in the St Leonards Area, so may still have contact with some of us.

Forthcoming Delivery of Yellow Pages Directories - 19 Nov 2012

Please be aware that the company DEYA working on behalf of YELL will be delivering Yellow Pages directories to our neighbourhood during the 2-3 weeks beginning from 29th November 2012.

DEYA carry out training with all delivery agents and try to ensure that Yellow Pages are not left outside homes in full view, which could indicate if a home is occupied or not. DEYA delivery persons are directed to either put the directory through the letter box or hand over to each householder. If this is not possible then they aim to leave it in a dry, secure place, out of sight from passers by, alternatively, it is left with a neighbour. In some cases a card may be left with a number to call to arrange re-delivery.

 

Unwelcome Approach - 28 Oct 2012

One neighbour has reported that on Sunday afternoon, they were in their driveway unloading their shopping from their car. A man in his 40's approached them in their driveway, first commenting on their car, then the volume of shopping and then he asked for some money. The neighbour was a lone female, and thus was understandably concerned for her security.

 

Car Break In - 29 Oct 2012

A white Audi car has been broken into overnight (Mon 29 Oct) on Merchiston Avenue. The police are in attendance and if anyone saw or heard anything will they please contact the police. Please keep all valuables out of sight or remove them completely from tempting opportunistic criminals.

 

Unwelcome Approach - 28 Oct 2012

One neighbour has reported that on Sunday afternoon, they were in their driveway unloading their shopping from their car. A man in his 40's approached them in their driveway, first commenting on their car, then the volume of shopping and then he asked for some money. The neighbour was a lone female, and thus was understandably concerned for her security.

 

Abandoned Items - 13 Aug 2012

On Mon 13 Aug, one resident on Polwarth Terrace found abandoned in their driveway a bicycle. It has now been handed into the Police at St Leonards, to help reunite it with its owner - it looked as if it was possibly from an overnight burglarly somewhere in the neighbourhood.

 

Continuing Doorstep Visitors - 16 Jul 2012

This item reported from a local resident: In the morning of 16 July, a young man in a white tracksuit came to the door of our flat in Merchiston Avenue claiming to be on 'work experience'. He showed a paper form with an address in Ormidale Terrace. He had a duffle bag and, from previous calls of this kind, I expected him to offer items for sale. I did not continue the conversation. This is the third time within 6 months that young men have toured the neighbourhood with the 'work experience' line.

 

Shed & Garage Attempted Breakins - 9 Jul 2012

There were a few attempted breakins to sheds and garages during the night of the above date. Nothing was reported stolen. These attempts took place in Merchiston Avenue, Napier Road and West Castle Road.

 

Unwelcome Visitors - 29 Jun 2012

The following incident occurred at 2.30am on Friday 29th June 2012.
A resident in Gillsland Road was woken up by their dogs barking and they came through to the lounge to check what was wrong. There was a car outside and a few people which was strange as it is a private driveway. The resident could not tell what was going on, but the people seemed upset. Shortly afterwards, a car drove away. The following day it was clear someone had climbed over the 8ft wall into the resident's garden and broken a garden chair and some plants while climbing out of the garden over the far wall. After speaking to their neighbour they have reported this incident to the police in case it may link to another incident in the area on that day.

 

Egg Assault - 13 May 2012

At about 0030hrs on 13 May 2012, one of our local residents was hit by eggs whilst walking along Merchiston Avenue. The eggs had been thrown from a passing vehicle. Please be vigilate for any repeat occurences of this antisocial activity.

 

Roofer Scam Prevented! - 14 March 2012

One of our residents has reported the following recent event, regarding the property that they rent:

"Our roof is due to be fixed as the drains are leaking down the house- the landlords are organising it, but nothing has as yet been instructed to go ahead. We are all waiting for the better weather....

On Wednesday 14 March 2012 at 8:15am we answered the front door to four men - one heavily built in a blue hooded jacket with plaster stains, the other three sort of typical builders work people, but very scruffy.

Man 1 (the guy in the blue hooded Fleece did all the talking, the others hung back) told me, in a fairly forceful voice- ‘I’ve come to fix the roof’

I said I didn’t know anything about it- he became aggressive and said they’d been instructed by the Landlord to come and do it. I repeated I didn’t know anything about it. He then started to back away. He was waving a piece of paper, but wouldn’t show it to me and would not tell me who he worked for.

He started to walk away. I called after him and said that I would speak to the Landlord and the Letting Agent, but as we had been burgled 18 months previously and no work was to be done on the house until I’d notified the insurance company. He then left very quickly.

I called our Landlord and although they have had a quote for the roof, they have not yet instructed any work to be done!"

The Police have been informed of this incident.

 

Opportunist Theft – 3 November 2011

A resident on Gillsland Road has reported that they had a number of items stolen from their car, which was inside their garage, at around 10:30pm on 3 Nov.
The garage door and car hatchback were both open, as the resident was loading it up from their house. More valuable items in the garage were not taken. It is worth noting that the garage is not obvious from the road, is up a secluded dead-end drive & several security lights come on automatically when anyone approaches.
The items stolen from the car included:
Green Berghaus anorak - medium size (has the resident’s business card in top left breast pocket)
Swiss Army knife - chunky red knife & has a white & black sticker with resident’s name & address on the black leather case.
Torch - chunky black torch in a nylon holster - also with a white & black sticker with resident’s name & address on the case
Coins - approx. £10 in loose change plus a black circular coin holder containing six £1 coins
The theft has already been reported to the Police. If you know or hear of any other information that may be helpful, then please contact PC Alan Hopper (alan.hopper@lbp.pnn.police.uk)
The thief left a blue disposable cigarette lighter on front passenger seat.
Please note that opportunist thieves will sieze on any unguarded opportunity.

 

Suspicious Clothing Collection - 31 October 2011

One resident in Napier Road recently received a bogus clothing collection bag through the door. It is designed to create the impression that it is for charity but the resident did not think it was. Others in Napier Road have received also these bags. If you are in possession of one of these bags, then please report it to the Police at St Leonards on 662 5000.

 

Suspicious Callers - 14 September 2011

Two young men came to the door of a property at the bottom of Merchiston Avenue, with a bag of stuff they were selling. The older one said he was doing door-to-door selling and that the other lad was a trainee on his first day. He asked if he could he show the property owner what they had to sell. The property owner asked him what organisation he was with and the seller replied 'Done and Dusted'. The seller was then asked for ID, and he had a hunt through his bag but couldn't find any and said it must be in the van. Would the home owner like to look at what he was selling anyway? The owner said he wouldn't be buying without seeing ID. He asked if he could come back later with his ID - the owner said maybe.
A local tradesman had already noticed them in the street and thought they looked a bit suspicious.
If they had been genuine, one would have thought that the trainer would do everything correctly when there was a trainee just starting?
A short internet search has not shown up any Charity by the name of 'Done and Dusted'.

 

Polwarth Terrace Burglary - 26 August 2011

A house on Polwarth Terrace was burgled in the early afternoon of Fri 26 Aug. Despite the alarm sounding and local neighbours quickly checking on the property, a number of valuable items were stolen. They gained access to the property via the conservatory door.

 

Bogus Dyson Vacuum Cleaner Repairers - 16 July 2011

Some Dyson owners have reported unwanted sales calls from bogus service engineers. Callers claim to be from Dyson. But what they're actually doing is cold calling people at random – in the hope they own a Dyson machine. Dyson never call without permission, or turn up without an appointment. If someone calls or knocks on your door claiming to be from Dyson, they aren't.

The work these companies carry out is often unnecessary and they use non-genuine parts. It can cost a lot more than their original quote – up to £150. And because it's not carried out by an approved Dyson engineer, it invalidates your Dyson guarantee.

 

Mugging near Meggetland - 14 June 2011

On Tuesday 14 June, an elderly woman was mugged and her handbag stolen outside the Tesco Exress on Colinton Road, near Meggetland. She was understandably very shaken. The thieves were two males, one dark-haired and over 6ft tall, the other shorter with ginger hair and a hoodie tied round his waist. They ran off towards the canal towpath. The Police have been interviewing people on the towpath in the hope that somebody may have seen the two suspects. Were you in the area around this time ? Did you see anything suspicious ? If so, please ring the Police on 662 5000.

 

Spylaw Road Burglary - 9 June 2011

There was a burglary at a house on Spylaw Road on the night of Thursday 9th June.
Police officers were patrolling the surrounding area during the small hours of the morning of Friday 10 June, checking to see whether nearby security lights had been triggered by the departing thief.
No more information is known at present.

 

Solar Energy Cold Callers (a message from Scambusters) - 19 May 2011

The Scottish Regional Scambusters Team are warning consumers to be on their guard regarding representatives from companies canvassing for solar panels and energy saving installations.

There have been recent reports of consumers in Scotland being cold called by telephone or receiving unsolicited home visits from company representatives offering the installation of solar panels or other similar energy saving devices on a special offer and pressure being applied on the day to sign expensive contracts, without the consumer having appropriate time to make an informed decision and consider other suppliers. We would urge consumers who are interested in acquiring a household solar energy system to fully acquaint themselves with information available from appropriate sources, particularly in relation to the expected financial dividends consumers could reasonably expect from energy being fed back into the National Grid. In this regard, it should be noted that for consumers to benefit from guaranteed payments from the Feed In Tariff (FIT) Scheme on systems installed after 1 April 2010, they must have been installed by a Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) approved installer.

Consumers may find it helpful to consult the The Energy Saving Trust, which is a non-profit organisation that provides free and impartial advice on how to save energy. Additional information and a list of registered installers can be obtained from the MCS, a quality assurance scheme focussed on ensuring the quality of renewable technology installations and products.

David Roderick, Trading Standards Manager, and joint head of the Scottish Regional Scambusters Team said, “We would advise consumers not to make a transactional decision following unsolicited home visits by cold callers. It is always beneficial to take an appropriate period of time to carry out some industry research on the product or service being offered and do not sign up immediately. We strongly recommend you consult the government backed websites and ensure that any installers are MCS registered”.

The MCS website is www.microgenerationcertification.org and their contact telephone number is 0207 090 1082.

 

Suspicious 'Recycling' Call - 8 April 2011

A suspicious man was calling at doors on Gillsland Road on 8 April 2011, at around 5pm. He asked if the residents had any 'recycling material' or any old jackets or clothes. He did not appear to be from any organisation, nor City of Edinburgh Council, nor a charity. He did not offer any identity or have a uniform. He was dressed in a red anorak and had a large black backpack, possibly like a guitar case. Age around 30+. It was suspected that, from his manner, he was going from door to door and looking for 'an opportunity'.
The Community Police Officers were informed, and within 10 mins they had acknowledged that they would actively go looking for the man in question.

 

Warning - Young Male Flasher - 8 January 2011

The police are investigating an incident of a young male (early 20s) exposing himself to twoteenage girls in the Merchiston area in the late evening of 7 January 2011. This is a serious matter for the police and no additional description will be posted here. Everyone should take extra care at night and please be aware of any strangers or unusual approaches. Please report any such events, concerns or any significant information to the police immediately. Thank you.

 

How not to De-Ice Your Car - 15 December 2010

Do not de-ice your car by leaving it running with the keys in the ignition
Across the country, many people will de-ice cars this winter by starting them up and leaving them running on their driveways or outside their houses while they nip back in doors. Under the terms of a comprehensive policy you should never do this.

Already in 2010, insurers have turned down hundreds of claims from people whose cars have been stolen during the few moments when the car is unattended.

Every car owner has a 'duty of care' under their policy to look after their car and avoid inviting theft. Leaving it running with the keys inside breaches that duty and is grounds for an insurer to turn down a claim if it is stolen. This winter, please ensure you defrost your car from the 'outside-in' and warm it up only when someone is sitting inside to protect it.

 

Suspected Criminal Activity - 10 December 2010

A young man in a woolly hat, claiming to be from the Council, has been calling on houses on the east side of Merchiston Avenue, telling people that Council workers will be along to clear snow "in about 45 minutes", but that they should continue to clear the pavements in front of their houses. He was not asked to show his
identity card - but might well have been unable to produce one!
The neighbour making the report thought he looked suspiciously like a would-be thief or look-out.
We are grateful that this was reported to the Neighbourhood Watch Street Co-ordinator for Merchiston Ave.

Reminder #1 – ATM Skimming - 13 August 2010

There have been a number of incidents of ATM skimming throughout Scotland recently. Please continue to be aware of this and take the following simple steps:

• Check the card reader before inserting your card. If you are suspicious do not use it and contact the bank or police as soon as possible.
• Check for additions to the ATM that are not usual (such as a leaflet holder).
• Cover your hand as you enter your PIN by holding your other hand above it.
• Check your account balance regularly.
• Inform your bank immediately if your account shows any transactions you did not make.

 

Reminder #2 – Sharing your details over the telephone- 13 August 2010

A number of householders have been contacted by a company claiming to be from a Crime Research organisation. They ask questions about the security of your home, including if you have an alarm and if you are in a Neighbourhood Watch. You should not give this kind of information over the phone. The company are trying to sell security systems and charge a very high maintenance rate.

If you are unsure of a caller’s identity on the telephone, ask them to write to you with the information they want to provide.

If you are interested in buying a security system, please seek a few quotes from companies that you trust, and be sure that you understand all of the costs involved, including ongoing costs.

To reduce the number of telephone calls you receive from companies trying to sell you items, register with the Telephone Preference Service: http://www.mpsonline.org.uk/tps/

 

West Castle Road Car Theft - Wed 28 April 2010

Between the hours of 11:30pm and 7:30am, a new Hyundai car had its front passenger window broken, whilst parked outside its owner's house. Nothing was found to have been stolen, and no fingerprints were left. It was suspected that the Sat Nav holder that was left on the dashboard gave the thieves their motive. The resident concerned reported that the Police were on the scene within 30mins, and were very supportive. They recommend that Sat nav holders are removed from sight (along with any front windscreen circular sucker marks). This type of theft was specifically featured in the January 2010 Police Report.

 

Scam Alert from Lothian & Borders Police - Tue 23 March 2010

Several reports of the following have been received happening in Clackmannanshire in Central Scotland, Fife area and Hillend, Edinburgh.
A well-dressed individual approaches looking for help, the male is often driving a Mercedes and the contact is made in either car parks or service areas. The story given is that the man has lost his wallet, or has had his credit cards/money stolen. He claims to be in desperate need of petrol and asks if you could lend/give him some money. In return he removes a gold chain or bracelet and a couple of rings which he gives you as a token of his thanks. He then offers to sell the rest of his rings/jewellery to obtain a little more cash.
Be warned that the items presented are not gold!
Police are requesting that any similar incidents should be reported as soon as possible. As always if you do feel under immediate threat however, then please call 999 immediately.

 

BT Disconnection Phone Scam - Tue 29 Sep 2009

A new telephone 'scam' is currently circulating. A 'representative of BT' calls to inform that they are about to disconnect you due to an unpaid bill. They ignore whether BT is your phone provider or not!
If they suspect that you're not being taken in, then they will 'prove' that they can disconnect you at any time by inviting you to hang up and try phoning someone else. All they seem to do is stay on the line with the Mute button held down, giving the impression that you have no dial tone when you try and re-dial.
They are expecting payment by credit card there and then of amounts from £31 to £118
The police are aware that these fraudulent attempts have just started.

 

Theft of Building Materials - Wednesday 8 July 2009

On the evening of Wednesday 8th July (around 8pm), a resident spotted a man helping himself to building materials in the grounds of the house at 5 Gillsland Road. The house and grounds are being extensively renovated and the whole area is a building site, with a lot of building materials, scaffolding and equipment on site.

The resident called the police and a police car and 2 officers (a policeman and a policewoman) attended. Before the police arrived, the man made off, carrying pieces of metal in an IKEA (the resident thought) bag. The resident gave a clear description of the man to the police. The police officer took notes and said he would also inform PC Alan Hopper, as our Community Beat Officer. It is understood that this site has been broken into previously.

This incident demonstrates that there are always people looking out for opportunities for easy pickings!

 

Burglar Apprehended and Confessed - Monday 16 March 2009

Following on from an incident on Friday 13 March 2009, a 21 year old male was detained on Monday 16 March 2009. During his subsequent interview he admitted to five housebreakings in Merchiston, plus a Housebreaking in Comiston Rd and Polwarth Crescent.

 

Burglary - Thursday 5 March 2009

The new owner of 8 Ettrick Road has informed us that he was burgled last night at around 3.00am, and the police say it bears the hallmarks of a very professional job. A window had been left unlocked - possibly by contractors working in the house. There were four adults sleeping upstairs at the time but the thieves managed to make off with quite a lot of items, and found the keys to a car parked in the driveway - which became the get-away-vehicle.

Three points:

1. If anyone noticed or heard anything suspicious in the wee small hours of Thursday 5th March, they should please contact the police at once.

2. All residents are advised to double-check that windows and doors are securely locked at all times. This may be particularly urgent during these times of financial turmoil.

3. If you have a burglar alarm, it's a good idea to have it switched on overnight. Your supplier can advise re arranging things so that the alarm is not activated by people or animals moving around indoors.

 

Mobile Phone Scam - Saturday 21 February 2009.

If you receive a phone call on your mobile from any person, saying that he or she is a company engineer, or telling that they're checking your mobile line, and you have to press #90 or #09 or any other number, end this call immediately without pressing any numbers.

There is a fraud company using a device that once you press #90 or #09 they can access your 'SIM' card and make calls at your expense.

Forward this message to as many colleagues, relatives and friends as you can, to stop it.

Many thanks for your time regarding this matter, take care and regards.

Alan Hopper 3521A
St Leonards Police Station

 

HMO Application for 1F2, 32 Merchiston Avenue - Monday 12 January 2009.

There is a hearing to be held on the 30 January 2009 at 9:45am in the City Chambers for a HMO application for flat 1F2 32 Merchiston Avenue. This application was objected by the residents in this block due to continuing anti-social behaviour and late night parties being held by this flat which lead to vandalism to the communal stairwell and damage to the main front door. In addition [a local resident thinks] the increase in vandalism over the year 2008 is related to these residents and their friends. [This local resident] would ask [their] fellow neighbours and residents of Merchiston Avenue to object this application for a HMO licence and any further applications as these particular flats are letting down the entire street. Your can submit objections to Suzanne Anderson, Council solicitor, Edinburgh City Council.

The above posting from a resident of Merchiston Avenue.

 

Merchiston Avenue Car Vandalism - Thursday 8 January 2009

This is the third occurence of car vandalism in recent weeks and this time a back light was pulled off one car. Next to this car another vehicle had its wing mirror broken.
A local resident is urging the police and other residents to contact the council and request that a camera is placed at the bottom of our street to try and catch these criminals.

The above posting from a resident of Merchiston Avenue.

 

Non-Waitrose Phone Scam- Sunday 16 November 2008.

We have been alerted by Waitrose to a new telephone scam being perpetrated in their name. Calls may say:

1. “You have been awarded either a prize or a holiday in a competition being run in conjunction with Waitrose. You are then asked to provide credit card details to claim the prize.”

OR

2. “There is a problem with your order. Please press 1 for more information.”

OR

3. “Friends or family have entered you in a Waitrose competition to win a holiday. Congratulations on your win. Please press 1 for more information.”

With the last two, pressing 1 connects you to a foreign premium rate number at £50 a minute.

If you receive calls such as these or other variations, no matter how plausible they may seem, under no circumstances should you give out your details or press 1. Simply hang up.

If you have inadvertently given your details, you should report this to your local police as soon as possible.

Waitrose assure us that if they were ever involved in a competition of any kind, they would never ask for bank or credit card details or ask you to press buttons on the phone for more information.

 

Burglary on Merchiston Avenue - Friday 31 October 2008.

A house had its front door forced during daylight on Friday. Anyone with any information or who may have noticed suspicious activity during the day please contact the police.
No details are available about the burglars but it is likely they would be carrying bags or items and may have used a vehicle.
Please ensure your doors and all locks are secure and alarms used when your property is empty.
Leaving a light on is a deterrent.

 

Comment on Recent Trends - Sunday 12 October 2008

Recently there have been a couple of thefts by housebreaking that have caused concern amongst my colleagues.

The housebreakings themselves did not occur within the Merchiston / Bruntsfield area but none the less are obviously unwelcome.

What causes myself and my colleagues concern however is that on each occasion that the crime occured, it has transpired that local residents have heard the commission of the crime but taken no action. That is to say that a resident has heard an alarm activation at approximately 3am and although concerned by the activation did not contact police.

A resident also was awoken from her sleep, again approximately 3am, to the sound of 'banging' and she attributed the noise to the sound of 'the bowling club being broken into again'. On looking out towards the bowling club she could not see anything untoward and so returned to her bed. Needless to say the bowling club had been broken into by forcing doors.

The point of all this is to again remind you that if you do encounter suspicious behaviour or there is activity that causes you to be concerned, please contact the police IMMEDIATELY and relay your concerns to the call operator. He or she will then determine the relevance of your information and where appropriate police officers will be sent to investigate.

Do NOT be afraid to contact the police. We would rather investigate a matter to discover the matter is a 'false alarm', than to be involved in a long and protracted investigation into crime. DO NOT think that you will be wasting police time. You may infact be saving police time and assisting in detecting offenders.

Alan Hopper

 

Car Break-In - Monday 6 October 2008

Just to let all our neighbours know, our VW Golf was broken in to in the early hours of Monday 6th October (between midnight and 6am). The car was actually sitting in our drive in front of our house in Polwarth Terrace. We think the responsible person (people?) was disturbed as various items were left lying in our garden and nothing appeared to have been stolen. We did report this to the police.

 

Car Speed Check - Wednesday 23 September 2008

Just to make you aware that following on from a residents complaint a Hand held radar, (speed check) was carried out on Wednesday 23 September 2008. This check was carried out at Polwarth Terrace.
A total of 21 vehicles were checked with a top speed of 35mph detected.
A further check was carried out at Greenbank Crescent. A total of 28 vehicles were checked again with a top speed of 35mph.
PC Alan Hopper

 

Continuing Car Damage - Sunday 6 July 2008

A resident on Merchiston Avenue was informed by a passer by at 5:50am on Sunday morning of a car opposite their house had had its window smashed and its door was hanging open.
There appears to be a weekend/Sunday trend to these car incidents.
Please can local residents remain vigilant and take whatever action they can to relocate their vehicles to minimise the risk and opportunity it presents to others?

 

Theft 'Slip-In' - Sunday 29 June 2008

Emerging Trend: A theft 'Slip-In' is when a theft is committed by taking property from a dwelling where security has not been breached, for example, leaving the back door open on a sunny day and someone popping in and taking something from the house.

Hotspot: Grange/Morningside
There has been an emerging trend of theft slip-ins to houses. Four have been committed in the vicinity recently, with further incidents of a male suspect knocking on doors in the area apparently looking for a B&B. In one case the male asked if the occupier could change euros - euros were stolen from a previous theft slip in from a house close by, thus the two are thought to be linked.

With the better weather approaching and many individuals leaving doors unlocked and open, it is possible that theft slip-ins may continue over the coming month and could affect a wider area.

To contact us on our non-emergency number please phone 0131 311 3131. You
can also check out our website for general information at www.lbp.police.uk

Emergency - In an emergency always dial 999. An emergency means someone is
in immediate danger, or a crime is taking place right now. If it is not an
emergency, please do not call 999.

Regards
Christine Harrison
Safer Communities Department
Lothian and Borders Police
0131 311 3371

 

Yellow Pages Deliveries - from 14 July 2008

We can inform you that DEYA Ltd will be delivering Yellow Pages and Telephones Directories from the 14 July 2008 and will take approximately 2-3 weeks. DEYA employees have been instructed not to leave them in view of the street, however there may be times when this is not possible. DEYA are hoping that they can enlist the support of neighbours wherever possible.

The contact for this is Karen Barnes, Tel: 0118 977 7239.

 

Lottery Scams - Fri 27 June 2008

It has recently come to light that individuals/groups are still attempting to obtain money from people by use of lottery scams. Essentially the scam works by informing a resident that he/she has won a large amount of money, but in order to obtain this amount the 'winner' must firstly deposit approx £1000 for admin fees etc. Usually the lottery will be a foreign Lottery, such as the Spanish Lottery with a prize of Euro750,000.

If you have not entered any lottery then you cannot win any lottery. Any such paperwork, or similar, that you receive should be ignored and placed in a bin immediately.

DO NOT respond. DO NOT deposit any money. If it sounds too good to be true then generally it is too good to be true.

PC Alan Hopper

 

More Car Wing-Mirror Vandalism - Monday 23 June 2008

At 23:30 hrs Monday 23 June, at least 3 cars had their wing-mirrors damaged. The Police know of these incidents.

Witness description of vandal: White male, dark trousers and was carrying over his shoulder a dark jacket. Youthful and average height/build. Only useful feature was that he was wearing a dark beanie style hat.

He was last sighted heading down Merchiston Avenue (North) towards Granville Terrace/Yeaman Place.

 

Suspicious Male trying Door Handles - Friday 19 June 2008

About 3:35pm on Friday 19 June 2008, a suspicious male was seen in Napier Road. It is believed that this male may have been trying door handles of properties in the street.

This male is described as white, late teens-early 20's, short dark hair, wearing a denim jacket, dark tracksuit bottoms and white training shoes.

Whilst no crime was committed this is a reminder to us all that there are opportunists out there that will take advantage of any opportunity that is given to them. Whilst I appreciate that, (on most days!), this is the hot time of year and therefore windows and doors will be left open, please don't give thieves a chance.

Furthermore, should you have any suspicions about an individual in your street then please contact the police and make us aware of your concerns.

DON'T WAIT until a crime is committed.

Thanks again

PC Alan Hopper

 

Car Wing-Mirror Vandalism - Sunday 1st June 2008

Last night (Saturday 31 May) there was a spate of car-wing mirror vandalisms in our neighbourhood - specifically the Merchiston Avenue area.
This has been reported via the neighbourhood watch website by one of our residents on Merchiston Avenue (a HUGE thankyou to them!) and an alert email sent to all residents who have provided us with their contact details.

The police are investigating it, but in the meantime, you may do 2 things:

1. Contact the police if you heard anything in the street outside after midnight on Sat 31 May.
Call St Leonards on 662 5000, or PC Alan Hopper on 662 5022

2. Keep your car off the roadside overnight wherever possible.
These incidents seem particularly to happen at the weekends and they are not cheap to fix.

 

Speed Checks - 28th May 2008

For your information a hand held radar check was carried out at the following locations on 28 May 2008.

Spylaw Road, 21 Vehicles checked, highest speed 30 mph
Merchiston Avenue, 17 vehicles checked, highest speed 24 mph
Braid Road, 23 vehicles checked, highest speed 24 mph

If there is a road that causes you concern with regards to speeding please make myself aware and I will endeavour to carry out a check at that location.

PC Alan Hopper

 

Pets have Priority - Sunday 25th May 2008

It has been brought to my attention that yesterday the police attended at an unoccupied house within Merchiston only to establish that the rear patio doors had been left open in order to permit the pet cat access/entry. The occupiers were infact away for the weekend in the knowledge that their patio doors were open! Whilst I understand that the welfare of pets is important please do not put the security of your property at risk. I'm pleased to say that on this occasion there was no loss, but the potential for loss was huge.

There is a minimal cost involved in fitting a cat flap in comparison to the likely losses that could be incurred should there be a break in.

May I again remind you all that using locks and window fittings is an essential part in securing your home.

Please don't give thieves a chance.

PC Alan Hopper

 

Car Number Plate Thefts - Friday 8th May 2008

During the night of Friday 8th May, 22 cars in West Castle Road, Polwarth
Terrace and the nearby neighbourhood had their number plates stolen.

Also one car in West Castle Road had its windscreen smashed.

The Police arrested the offender on Saturday morning - apparently an 18 year old student. We were informed that the police had notices on the windscreens of the affected vehicles by 8:30am on the Saturday morning.

The car owners are grateful to Carparts Motor Components shop on Yeaman Place (228 6222) who very quickly provided replacement number places at a discounted cost.