Police are appealing for help from the local community to help trace offenders who have been targeting elderly residents in Hull, after approaching them to carry out work on their home, and charging excessive amounts of money for the repairs.
Humberside Police has been made aware of three incidents, which have taken place between 30 and 31 July 2012.
Whilst not wanting to stop legitimate traders who go door to door, the public of Hull needs to be aware that these people are operating in the area.
The first incident took place at the home of an elderly resident who lives on Greenwood Avenue in Hull. A man approached the address and asked the occupant for money in return for completing work on the outside of the house, which he claimed needed to be carried out. The occupant of the property paid the man for the work, which later appeared to have not been completed.
In a similar incident, a man approached a property on Hall Road on 30 July, offering to repair guttering at the address. The occupant declined the offer. The following day, the elderly man returned home after being out for several hours, and found that the guttering appeared to have been removed from the outside of his house.
In a further incident, two men were knocking on the doors of residents on Elgar Road, at approximately 1500hrs on 31 July. They are alleged to have told an elderly woman that her garden needed tending to and offered a ‘cheap’ price for completing the task. A neighbour came out and queried the agenda of the men, who then left the area empty handed.
The incidents are being investigated by the police and at this time, it is not known if they are connected.
Following enquiries, police have arrested a 19-year-old man in connection with the incident on Greenwood Avenue. He is currently in custody and helping police with their investigation.
Police would like to make people aware that these types of offenders often do a sub-standard job for which you have no guarantee, and charge extortionate amounts of money.
“We are appealing for victims of rogue traders to report any suspicious behaviour, and to alert police at the earliest opportunity.
“We urge family members and neighbours of the elderly to remain vigilant and to record vehicle registration numbers and descriptions of traders who they suspect could be acting inappropriately.
“Don’t feel pressurised into paying money upfront for work which you haven’t asked to be carried out, and arrange for the tradesman to return at a later date, so that the police can carry out enquiries in the area in the interim.”
In order to eliminate these rogue traders, police advise residents to contact the police or trading standards as soon as possible. We urge people not to agree to deals on the doorstep, when feeling under duress, but to feel empowered to act if they are targeted by brazen bluffers.
To avoid becoming a victim of a bogus caller police offer the follow advice:
LOCK: Keep your front and back doors locked, even when at home.
STOP: Before you answer, stop to think if you are expecting anyone. Check that your back door is locked, and any keys are taken out. Look through the spy hole or the window to see who it is.
CHAIN: If answering the door, keep the bar or chain on while you are talking to the person on the doorstep. (when the door is shut and locked, leave the bar or chain off in case of an emergency.) Some bogus callers target older and vulnerable people saying they need help urgently. They may ask you to help them outside the house or ask to use a phone or request a drink. Only offer to help if you have someone with you. Don’t worry if you choose not to help it is not rude or unfriendly.
CHECK: If someone who looks, official calls at your door, always ask for and carefully check their identity card, even if they have an appointment. Do they look like the person on the card? Do their details match any prior correspondence? Close the door while you do this. If you are not expecting them, and they don’t show you an identity card, do not let them in until you have double-checked their validity.
ONLY LET THEM IN WHEN YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT THEY ARE GENUINE.
Remember you should not be pressured into agreeing to a deal made under duress on your doorstep, and you do have the right to decline prior to any work being carried out so please help us by making life harder for these brazen bluffers.
If you have been a victim of these traders or have been approached, then, please contact Humberside Police on 101 or North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards.