December 6 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, August 17, 2013
An elderly couple have been conned out of £1,850 by bogus repair men in Swaffham, prompting renewed police warnings for householders to beware of rogue traders.
Police said a man called at the couple’s home on the Merryfields Estate, at around 2pm on Wednesday.
He told them there was a hole in their roof which needed repairing and that he would come back the next day to do the work.
He returned between 9.30am and 10am the following day, claiming the cost would be £1,850 and he would only accept cash – so the woman in the house went to the bank to get the money.
Det Con Steve Moseley, who works with Norfolk police’s specialist Operation Radar team which investigates rogue traders and distraction burglaries, said although officers had not been able to attribute any other incidents to this particular two-man team, the tactics used were similar to many other crimes.
“We see people getting conned all the time,” he said. “It just sends a message out not to deal with people on your doorstep. If anyone like this has asked for cash and says they cannot deal with any other form of payment, it has got to raise suspicions.”
Det Con Moseley said many victims felt reluctant to come forward after being conned.
“We want to stop as many people like this as we can, but we can’t do that unless we are told about it,” he said.
“Nine times out of 10, rogue trader victims feel embarrassed, upset or ashamed, feeling they have let their family down. But these people are professionals at what they do, so nobody should be ashamed of being duped by people like this.
“If people can find it in themselves to tell their family, and tell the police or Trading Standards, then we can act on that and prevent that person from calling on someone else in the future.”
Det Con Moseley said householders should check the identification of people arriving at their door, and not be pressured into paying in cash.
“With this case, there was no ID, no paperwork, nothing,” he said. “Don’t rush into things. Some of these people use frightening tactics like, in this case, saying the water is going to get into your roof and it will get worse if you don’t sort it, pronto.
“In those situations, there is nothing wrong with sending them away and getting a quote or a second opinion from someone else.”
The Swaffham rogue trader was between 6ft and 6ft 4in tall, in his 40s, with short brown hair and wearing a blue shirt. He was with a second man in his 20s. The men drove a white van with ladders on the roof.
Contact DC Moseley on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.