Police are appealing for information and offering advice around cold callers after reports of a rogue trader targeting elderly residents in the North Derbyshire area following four suspicious incidents.
They happened during the afternoon and early evening of Tuesday, July 1 in the Wingerworth and Brookside areas.
The first took place at around 3.45pm on Mill Crescent, Wingerworth. A man called at a property, claiming he knew the resident, and offered to carry out repairs to the chimney. He left when the owner declined.
At around 4pm to 4.30pm an 80-year-old man on Lodge Drive, Wingerworth, was visited by a man who was offering to do roof work. He also seemed to take an interest in the resident’s garage and garden but then left when his offer was turned down.
A man with a similar description also called at two properties on Brookside Glen at around 6pm the same evening. In one incident he is alleged to have made his way into the home of a 95-year-old woman to take a look at her garage roof, which he offered to repair with left over cement.
His first estimate for the cost of the work was more than £400 but this reduced significantly after the resident said no. The man became agitated when he thought the woman had gone to use her phone and left the property shortly afterwards.
The man is described as being white, around 6ft tall and aged in his 30s. He is believed to have been wearing a navy coloured jacket and trousers.
Officers would also like to try and trace a red coloured estate type vehicle which was seen near to a number of these incidents at the time.
Community Safety Inspector Russell Dakin said: “The residents in each of these incidents were right to be cautious and to say no and I would strongly advise people not to agree to work from strangers who call unannounced at your home or workplace. If you think there is work to be done then ask around for a few quotes first.
“This will reduce the risk of paying high prices for poor quality repairs and also can reduce the potential of residents becoming the victim of a distraction burglary.”
Insp.Dakin added: “I would also ask residents to look out for each other, and if you think there is someone acting suspiciously and calling at homes then please contact us, with a description and the details of any vehicles if possible.
“Don’t feel like your call will be time wasting; we would much prefer to check everything is in order than to have people suffer the distress that can be caused by this type of crime.”
Anyone with information about these incidents should contact Derbyshire police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
For further information and advice about rogue traders contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06.
Derbyshire Trading Standards Service can help residents find honest and reliable traders through the Trusted Trader scheme.
All the businesses who sign up to Derbyshire Trusted Trader have been checked by the trading standards team. To find a Trusted Trader in your area call 01629 533190 or visit www.derbyshire.gov.uk/trustedtrader.