COLD callers targeting elderly residents late at night have become a priority for on-the-beat policeofficers in an attempt to stop rising numbers being scammed.

Police, who are patrolling areas in the town where reports have come from, have urged pensioners to be aware of criminals requesting money for fake services following a recent spike - which has included criminals acting as a group in order to gain entry.

Bogus officials have claimed to work for Barnsley Council, the NHS and other official organisations in order to gain entry.

In recent cases, they have claimed they have spotted urgent property repairs that need to be carried out..

A police spokesman said: “There has been an increase in reports of unwanted and suspicious persons attending people’s doors late at night, canvassing for business.

“It would appear that the elderly, and vulnerable, are the ones being targeted.

“We would advise residents to be vigilant when answering their door.”

Police in Barnsley have handed out stickers to residents, which can be placed in windows, displaying a sign which warns unwanted callers not to try their luck.