Burglars posing as council workers in west Dublin have been gaining access to homes and apartments and carrying out robberies, it has emerged.

Residents in Rathcoole and Clondalkin have been advised to be on the lookout for bogus callers attempting to gain access to properties under false pretences.

Gardaí are investigating a number of robberies carried out where criminals have posed as council workers. And South Dublin County Council is advising residents not to allow anyone access to their homes unless official identification is shown.

"The garda have warned that bogus callers claiming to be council workers checking water pressure are targeting residences in the Clondalkin and Rathcoole area," said the council. "All householders are urged to be vigilant and not to permit access to their property to anyone purporting to work on behalf of South Dublin County Council unless official identification is shown by the caller."

It has advised residents to ask for proof of identity and inform the council if they are not satisfied. Local Fianna Fáil councillor Trevor Gilligan described the scam as a "serious problem" and warned it might soon spread around the capital and to the rest of the country.

"As far as I'm aware, it's a problem in apartment complexes as well as households. I've heard of cases where people gain access to apartment complexes, knock on the doors and claim to work for the management company or the local council. When they get inside, they carry out looting," he said.

South Dublin County Council has advised residents that all legitimate council employees carry photo ID and often travel in highly distinctive vehicles. Householders also have the right to refuse entry to their property by anyone purporting to be a council worker and can insist on a pre-arranged appointment.