Police are calling on residents to be on their guard from rogue traders claiming that work is needed on their properties.
Officers regularly work with their partners in the Trading Standards Department to tackle bogus traders and are calling on people living in the Conwy and Denbighshire areas to be vigilant. They are also urging anyone who has concerns or believe they may have been approached by bogus builders – or anyone turning up on doorsteps offering to carry out ‘urgent’ or ‘essential’ to contact police.
The warning is being made after police were alerted to a possible recent incident in the Conwy county area which is currently being investigated by police and Trading Standards.
“Local residents and businesses are being urged to be on their guard,” said Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Williams. “In the past we have had incidents reported to us whereby people – particularly the elderly in the community have been approached by traders claiming that work is required on their property and that they will carry out the work immediately. On occasions, these individuals have been quite persistent.”
He added: “Residents are sometimes convinced to get the work done because it can be completed reasonably quickly. If you are approached or become aware of a neighbour who has been targeted please let us know immediately.”
If work is needed on a property residents should contact traders who have worked for them previously, have worked on property for friends and family and have a good reputation. It is also a good idea to ask the builder / trader if the work really is required and get additional quotations from other reputable businesses.
DCI Williams added: “This type of crime is particularly despicable in that the perpetrators target vulnerable people who are intimidated into handing over a cash value that far exceeds the standard of work done. We want to do all we can to stop people falling foul of rogue traders who can be extremely convincing, but we need the help of the community. Nobody should be pushed or bullied into having any work done and I would especially appeal to relatives and neighbours of vulnerable people, who can often be reluctant to highlight the issue themselves, to contact us if they become aware of this happening.
“Partnership work has been undertaken and will continue in future in a further bid to reduce his kind of doorstep crime, including rogue trader patrols and the implementation of cold calling controlled zones. I want to reassure residents that we will continue with this work in a bid to stop rogue traders targeting members of our communities.”
Police are also issuing the following advice to householders in a bid that they can help themselves from falling victim to rogue traders:
If in doubt – keep them out
• Be wary of special offers or warnings about your home, such as: “We were doing a job in the area and we have some materials left over” or "I noticed you've got a few loose tiles on your roof”. In short simply do not accept this type of call.
• Don’t ever agree to a trader starting any work straight away. Take time to consult with someone you trust for a second opinion, speak to friends, family or neighbours before making any decision.
• Don’t let a persistent trader intimidate you into making an immediate decision or into buying things you don’t need.
• Don’t hand over a cash deposit
• Don’t keep a large amount of cash in your home and do not agree to go to a bank or building society with the trader
• If someone turns up on your doorstep and tries to intimidate you into having work done or into paying for work which is unsatisfactory or was not requested, the best course of action is to close the door and call the police immediately.
• If in doubt – keep them out.
Finally, if residents experience a cold call or think they have been approached by a rogue trader they should record as many details about the caller as possible including vehicle registration numbers and call police on 101 or the Citizens Advice Customer Service on 08454 04 05 06. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.