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Protect your neighbours from rogue traders

With the weather expected to get increasingly colder over the coming weeks, we're asking people to look out for their elderly and vulnerable neighbours.

If you have a frail relative or neighbour please make sure to check they're ok and see if they need anything - whether it's fetching shopping or resetting the heating.

It's also important to remind them to be on the alert for rogue traders and distraction burglars as these 'doorstep crimes' often involve elderly or vulnerable victims as they can be at home most of the day.

Rogue traders are criminals who take advantage of people by using high-pressure sales techniques. Their work is often overpriced, poor quality or not required at all. A distraction burglar is someone who tricks their way into homes and then distracts you while they steal valuables or cash.

Superintendent Geoff Wessell said: "Rogue traders and distraction burglars are particularly despicable. They prey on the elderly or the vulnerable and the effect on the victim's health and confidence can be devastating. It's your doorstep and your decision, so be confident, and turn them away. Some people who suffer this kind of crime never fully recover.

"It's your doorstep and your decision, so be confident, and turn them away."

someone knocking on a door

Case study:

A 72 year-old woman from the Redfield area of Bristol was the victim of Rogue Traders.

She was alone at home, when unfamiliar men turned up at the property claiming to be from her water provider, asking to perform what they described as ‘routine checks’.

After being granted access to the house, they then used distraction techniques, confusing the lady in order to scope the house for valuables.

The lady said:

“I just wish that I was close with my neighbours. I would like to know somebody looking out for me.”

"I've also started checking any unfamiliar visitors ID.” 

 

Top Tips to stay safe from rogue traders and distraction burglars

 

Keeping yourself safe…

  • Key thing to remember is: 'Not sure? Don't open the door' - It’s your doorstep, it’s your decision.
  • Always check the ID of any unsolicited callers.
  • Genuine callers won't mind making an appointment for a date when you can have someone with you.
  • Never use companies who make unsolicited calls, who don't provide contracts, or who offer to do work for cash.
  • Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times.
  • If you have any suspicions or are concerned about cold callers, call the police on 101. If you think a crime is in progress always call 999.
  • Check whether traders are members of the Local Authority Assured Trader Schemes (www.oft.gov.uk) or the government Trust Mark scheme (www.trustmark.org.uk).

Keeping your neighbour safe…

  • Check in regularly on elderly neighbours, give them a mobile number so they can contact you.
  • Join a neighbourhood watch scheme. It will make you and your neighbour 1/6 times less likely to be a victim of burglary, so it’s worth joining.
  • Remember it's your neighbourhood; look out for one and other.

Did you also know...

  • A trader breaks the law if they visit your home and refuse to leave when requested to do so.
  • Claiming a product is available for a limited time to pressure a sale is illegal.
  • Inaccurately claiming you are at risk if you don't buy goods is illegal.

Important: If you suspect a rogue trader is at your door, you must call 999 straight away.