A veteran Dundee councillor has branded bogus callers who broke into the homes of vulnerable pensioners “lower than vermin”.
Two elderly women were robbed in the Kerrsview Terrace area of Dundee last week when thieves posing as workmen gained access to their homes.
One victim’s neighbours was threatened with a knife after challenging the criminals.
The robbery follows a spate of suspected bogus caller incidents throughout Dundee.
Police Scotland confirmed four men have been charged in relation to incidents in Beaumont Crescent, Strathdee Terrace and Pitlessie Gardens.
Independent councillor Ian Borthwick, who worked with charity Age Concern for three decades, believes the fear of suffering such a crime can push many elderly homeowners over the edge.
The Strathmartine councillor said: “I’ve described these people in the past as lower than vermin. It’s difficult to comprehend how anyone could do this.
“Anybody who would prey on older vulnerable people is absolutely disgusting and disgraceful.
“What often happens is that an older person loses confidence in themselves and quite often they go into care.
“What is vitally important is that neighbours, relatives and friends keep a watch because experiencing this often has quite a devastating effect.
“It’s important that older people feel safe and secure — and the community can play a vital role in ensuring this.”
Mr Borthwick worked for Age Concern for a number of years and encountered several victims of doorstep crime.
He explained: “I worked with Age Concern as a development officer and advocacy officer. I have experienced a number of these cases and they are quite disturbing.
“I am confident police will do their very utmost to identify the culprits and will deal with them effectively — exposing them to the full letter of the law.
“These are dangerous and bad people who can do incredible harm. If in doubt, keep them out.”
Tayside Division Detective Sergeant Sarah Brow said: “I would like to remind the public to be wary of anyone turning up at your home unannounced offering to carrying services or work.
“Bogus workmen take advantage of the vulnerable and elderly members of community for financial gain.
“I would urge anyone who suspects a bogus workman to be operating in the area to call Police Scotland on 101.”