Police are warning residents to be alert to cold callers who may be rogue traders following a number of suspicious incidents in the Heath, Grassmoor, Holmewood and Calow areas.
Over the last few weeks there have been a number of reports about rogue traders who have been calling at homes and pressurising often elderly or more vulnerable residents into paying large amounts of cash for work or goods which might not be necessary.
In the most recent incident, an elderly couple in Heath were approached by a company who claimed they needed £1000 worth of repair work on their roof, but a second opinion from a firm they used regularly found that it was not needed.
Officers from the local Safer Neighbourhood policing team have been carrying out patrols, handing out leaflets and offering advice.
They are urging residents not to open the door to unexpected callers, and for relatives and neighbours to look out for traders who may be targeting vulnerable people.
PCSO Hannah Disney of the Holmewood, Grassmoor, Calow and Arkwright Safer Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “We always advise residents not to trade with people who call at your door without prior notice. If you believe you need work doing then get a few quotes first from reputable businesses.
“This will help prevent you from paying over the odds for poor quality work, and can also reduce the potential of becoming the victim of other doorstep crimes such as distraction burglary.”
Advice for residents on how they can protect themselves includes:
If you are not sure who is at the door, don’t open it.
Ask a trusted neighbour to check them before you open the door or tell them to come back at a time when someone will be with you.
Before answering the front door, make sure your back door and any windows are locked and closed. Use the door chain every time you open the door.
Never agree to have work done or part with any money on your doorstep. Always get written quotes from at least two traders first.
If a caller makes you feel intimidated, refuses to leave or return after you’ve asked them to go then contact the police.
PCSO Disney added: “If you are suspicious of a cold caller in your neighbourhood, please report them to police as soon as you can with a description of them and any vehicle you may have seen them use. It will help officers with their enquiries and could prevent someone from becoming a victim of doorstep crime.”
Anyone who notices anything suspicious, or with information about crime, should contact Derbyshire police on 101, except in an emergency when the number is always 999. You can also find out more crime prevention advice on the Derbyshire police website: www.derbyshire.police.uk
Derbyshire County Council offers a Trusted Trader scheme to help residents find honest and reliable traders who commit to doing a good job for a fair price. It includes plumbers, builders, roofers, decorators, joiners, electricians, gardeners, retailers and many more.
To find a Derbyshire County Council Trusted Trader visit the website: www.derbyshire.gov.uk/tt
Citizen’s Advice also provide useful information for consumers. Visit their website, www.adviceguide.org.uk/england.htm, or call 08454 04 05 06.