Police and trading standards officers in Derbyshire are urging residents to be alert and to think twice before employing doorstep callers or traders.
The advice comes as police are seeing an increase in rogue trader incidents, and the nicer weather may provide an opportunity for rogue traders to go door-to-door to offer gardening or driveway services.
Officers are also urging residents to report any suspicious callers at their own or their neighbours’ homes.
Police and trading standards officers at both Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council often receive complaints from local residents who have agreed for work to be carried out by doorstep callers and then find the work is of poor quality.
They frequently vastly overcharge, or increase the price after the work has started. In some cases, rogue traders have used high pressure tactics and even taken victims to a cash machine in order to collect their payment.
Pc Chris Bond, of the Derbyshire Constabulary doorstep crime unit, said: “We’re always grateful of any information we receive about those who go door-to-door offering goods and services as there have been cases where residents have been charged very high prices for low quality or unnecessary work.
“Older or more vulnerable people tend to be targeted and rogue traders have also been linked to other types of doorstep crime such as distraction, burglary and theft.”
Homeowners are advised not to answer the door to people they are not sure of, and to never allow anyone into their home unless they know and trust them.
People should also get at least three different quotes on work or repairs that may be needed, and should not be pressurised into trading with someone on the doorstep.
Pc Bond added: “Anyone who is suspicious of a caller should contact the police so that officers can make checks. If they are using a vehicle, see if you can get its registration number, colour and make and pass these details on.
“Even if they turn out to be genuine, it is better to make that call for your own peace of mind and to ensure your area stays safe.”
Anyone with information about suspicious activity, rogue traders or doorstep callers should contact Derbyshire police on 101, unless a crime is being committed when the number is always 999.