POLICE and water bosses in the Vale of Evesham are combining against fraudulent officials.

They warn that residents, especially the elderly, continue to be the target of unscrupulous criminals pretending to be utilities officials.

"The elderly are the most likely targets for these heartless thieves. Unfortunately, they are also least likely to heed the simple message of 'if in doubt keep them out' that we constantly send to the public," said Detective Chief Inspector Martin Lakeman.

He appealed to friends and relatives of older people to help to get the message through.

"It is extremely difficult to change people's long held habits, but every effort must be made to convince potential victims that they must not drop their guard in dealing with people at the door."

Police urge people not to let anyone in if they have any doubts about their legitimacy and not to keep large amounts of money in the home.

Jonathan Bailey, Director of Customer Relations for Severn-Trent plc, said it is very unusual for officials to want to get into a house without an appointment and that employees always carried identity cards.