A PROJECT that aims to keep Swindon's residents safer has benefited from a generous donation.

Gas pipeline company Transco has donated £1,400 to the Bobby Van scheme.

The Bobby Van, an independent project, is based at Chippenham police station but covers the whole county.

It started in 1998 and visits about 500 elderly people a year to offer them security advice and lock-fitting services.

The aim is to reduce the fear of crime and to stop the vulnerable being targeted by distraction burglars.

It also offers help people with disabilities and victims of domestic violence.

Distraction burglary is when a con artist poses as an official from a council, water, gas or other company and tricks their way into a house to steal cash.

The tricksters most often prey on the elderly, who are more likely to be at home during the day.

Yesterday the Evening Adver- tiser reported on the launch of an eye-viewer scheme at Dr Behr Court in Pinehurst, which allows the elderly to see who is at the door before they open it.

Bobby Van operator Rod Law said: "We are very grateful to Transco for the generous donation which will be used to help not only elderly victims of burglary but also other vulnerable people such as victims of domestic violence and those with disabilities."

The money has come from Transco's Safety Charity Challenge which aims to reduce work-related accidents and injuries.

The less time company employees have off work as a result of such accidents, the more the company gives to charity, which locally have included the Wiltshire Bobby Van and Swindon-based Abby Smith Cancer Fund.

Tim Sheppard, a Transco manager in Wiltshire, said: "We are delighted to support the Bobby Van's excellent work in providing home security service for older, vulnerable and disadvantaged people in Wiltshire."