There has been a sharp increase in petty crimes committed by Roma groups living along the French-Swiss border, according to police in canton Vaud.
The number of incidents has risen in recent months – with 18 in April, 45 in June and 84 in July. Police say that the elderly are the primary victims of theft.
On Friday, cantonal police warned older residents in the region to be very cautious if people appear at the door asking to be let in.
Another common ploy is posing as restaurant staff to collect money from guests, say police.
This has been a problem at outdoor cafés in towns along the Lake Geneva shore.
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