Homeowners are being warned to be wary of rogue traders following an incident in Weston-super-Mare.
A couple, aged in the 70s and 80s, contacted a firm they found on a price comparison website offering a guttering cleaning service.
Two men turned up in a van at a property in the Hillside area of town at approximately 10.30am on Monday 7 September.
After inspecting the guttering, they told the couple the roof also required fixing before quoting a price of £3,500 for the job. They claimed to need a £2,000 cash payment to purchase materials, before returning to carry out the work.
Having received the cash, they left and never returned to the address.
Both men were white. One was described as wearing a dark black stretcher style earring with very short dark hair. The other appeared older and spoke with Irish accent.
Enquiries have been carried out and show a vehicle we are hoping to track down as part of our investigation. The van is described as being a white Ford Transit, with roof bars and a side bar.
Following this incident, residents are encouraged to take note of the following crime prevention advice, particularly regarding being alert to rogue traders and distraction burglaries:
- Never open the door to an unexpected caller until you’ve checked their identification – use a door chain or viewer, intercom or a ‘smart’ doorbell. Genuine callers expect it.
- If you’re not sure, don’t open the door.
- Never agree to have work done or part with money on your doorstep and ideally get written quotes from at least two traders for any work. Always agree a start and finish date and agree a price before any work starts on your home.
- If you are suspicious of a caller tell us straight away – ring 999 if you feel threatened or intimidated, otherwise call 101.
- Store any high value items such as jewellery, passports and cash in a properly secured and hidden safe or bank vault.
- Keep windows and doors secured if you’re not in the room and never keep large sums of money in the house.
- If you see someone calling door-to-door, but only on frail or elderly neighbours, call 999 straight away.
- Ask a trusted neighbour to help you deal with unexpected callers.
- Look out for vulnerable and elderly neighbours and make sure they know what to do when they receive an unexpected caller.
- Join Neighbourhood Watch.
- If you think you’ve been deceived, are concerned about a trader or have any doubts call 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Services.
Anyone who can help with our investigation, recognises seeing the van photographed or has experienced a similar incident, is asked to call 101 and give reference number 5220203810.