nighttime leaflet drops and bogus callers are contributing to fear among elderly householders in Mountmellick.
Stickers for unwanted clothes are being pushed into letterboxes as early as 5am, setting off dogs barking and frightening people in their beds, Gardaí heard at last Thursday’s joint policing meeting in the town.
Cllr Bobby Delaney told of one lady that was so frightened she tried to barricade herself into her bedroom.
“The young gentlemen that go around with leaflets to collect clothing are doing it at 5am most of the time, I know myself, you hear all the dogs going, especially in a built up area. One elderly lady told me her dog went mad, and she put a chair up against her bedroom door she was so frightened,” he said.
Sheelagh Coyle from the Community Forum highlighted the latest scam by bogus callers, who are overcharging to install RTE’s digital service.
“People are being charged a huge amount of money for the Saorview box. It only costs €60 but they are paying €120 and up. It’s only a matter of unplugging one cable and plugging in another. We need to alert elderly people. It is mostly them as they don’t have new televisions,” she said.
Cllr Paddy Bracken urged people to ring the Gardaí if they had any concerns about callers.
“People shouldn’t let anyone around their house unless they know them. Conmen are offering to do gutters and other services, people should be very wary about opening their door,” he said.
He praised the recent installation of panic buttons to many of Mountmellick’s elderly residents.
“Most of us grew up here and all knew our neighbours but we are living in different times. it’s important for the elderly to feel assured that they can be safe in their home, and there are ways and means of protecting them,” he said.
The panic alarms are installed free to the elderly community, with a €64 annual monitoring charge. Pressing the button on a neck pendant instantly alerts the emergency services.