Vulnerable elderly men are being stalked in their own homes by desperate female criminals trying to scam them out of money and possessions, it has been claimed.
Councillor Tom Ferguson said it was despicable that some elderly and vulnerable people can’t go about their lives without “being targeted by relentless stalkers” intent on financially exploiting them.
He made the comments as police revealed they have identified a pattern of behaviour in Lochee in which elderly men living in sheltered accommodation are being targeted by young women.
Mr Ferguson said that while he was aware of incidents in Lochee, these types of crime are being committed across the city.
He said: “Yes, there is a pattern of targeting people in sheltered housing, including one in the last few weeks.
“In one of the more recent cases the elderly person couldn’t recognise the person at a later date.
“If the victims have got conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s there is no chance of getting the corroboration needed to convict the criminals.
“They definitely target the elderly and vulnerable, not just in sheltered housing schemes.
“If they get a bit of trust and are left alone for a second they will take family heirlooms and anything of value.
“It is absolutely disgraceful. They just rip these old people off and take everything in the house.”
Mr Ferguson said the current situation had been “simmering” for years.
“This kind of crime is taking place all over the city,” he said.
“It is known of these girls to take poor old souls to the bank and the banks are aware of it and report it.
“Some of the victims don’t even know they are being victimised.
“It’s terrible, and often the victims feel ashamed or feel as if they have made fools of themselves.”
A police report recorded the situation as an “emerging issue” in the Lochee ward and said one woman had been charged with intent to steal.
It also states that steps are being taken with the procurator fiscal’s office to get one woman banned from all sheltered housing complexes in the area in an attempt to tackle the problem.
A spokeswoman for Police Scotland’s Tayside Division said: “Police Scotland can confirm that a 33-year-old woman was charged in connection with being in a building with intent to steal in Lochee on January 27 2015. A report has been submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
Mr Ferguson said he would be working with the police to raise awareness and tackle these crimes.
He said sheltered housing wardens and neighbours of vulnerable residents need to be vigilant to report crimes.
He added: “There needs to be more awareness of this and it has to stop. We don’t need any of these leeches in our community.”
Police advice is to be suspicious of anyone arriving unannounced at their door.
Householders are urged to ensure doors are secure, even when they are at home, and to use a door chain.
They should also not let anyone in until they are certain of who they are, or who they claim to represent.
Neighbours should look out for one another, particularly if they have elderly or vulnerable neighbours, and report any suspicious activity to the police.