Police urge residents to say no to cold callers after spate of incidents including in Kirkby
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Nottinghamshire Police said it has seen a spike in reports of rogue or bogus traders targeting vulnerable residents in doorstep scams.
In Kirkby, a frail woman aged in her 90s was left shaken and frightened after two men pressured her into accepting a £2,000 quote for repair work to her garage roof. It was only the intervention of a concerned neighbour that meant the two men left empty-handed.
Police said recent examples include: offering to provide goods or services which are of poor quality or deliberately overcharged; quoting for unnecessary work; damaging property deliberately in order to obtain money; leaving work unfinished; and intimidating residents to extort money.
Sgt Sally Collins, of Nottinghamshire Police’s fraud protect team, said the spike began in May when 13 reports were made, with a further 14 incidents in June.
She said: “We’ve had one job where the rogue trader accepted money for repair work and just stuck tape around the chimney. They told the elderly customer they had put flashing around it, knowing they were too frail to go onto the roof to check.
“A lot of victims pay money because they can’t handle the pressure these rogue traders put them under. Some are in such a frail state they pay money just so they are left alone.”
She said the force will not hesitate to prosecute offenders, but it was better to prevent incidents in the first place.
Sgt Collins said: “It can be difficult to put offenders before the courts because you need your victims to be willing to give evidence. But unfortunately, many are elderly and are too frail to leave the house or don’t want to attend court. It restricts our ability to disrupt and prosecute offenders, which is why preventative measures are so crucial in tackling this issue.”
Asked what people should do if a cold caller knocks on their door, Sgt Tara Clapperton said: “Our message is simple: Say ‘no’ to cold callers. You should not feel under any obligation to buy from people on your doorstep. Firmly but politely refuse the sales.”
Should they become aggressive and refuse to leave, call 999. If it is non-urgent, call 101.