There continue to be reports of rogue trader incidents across North Lincolnshire – where persons posing as legitimate tradesmen (often wearing clothing with a company logo on and a liveried van) attend properties unannounced and uninvited and offer to carry out work on driveways, gardens and roofs and/or general handyman type jobs. Where the homeowner agrees to the work being carried out, a price is agreed but that price often rises when the work is completed due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ and the homeowner can be intimidated into paying an extortionate amount for work which is rarely up to standard.
Rogue trading is not a civil matter. The perpetrators are committing unlawful acts and can be prosecuted. However prevention is always better than detection so please spread the word amongst your community that police advice is never to agree to any work being carried out by any ‘tradesman’ who has turned up uninvited.
The offenders often target elderly people who live in semi-detached or detached properties with gardens and driveways / garages. However offences are not strictly limited to this type of victim and others outside this category have been preyed on. There is no specific hotspot area for these offences as they are sporadic and have occurred in urban and rural areas. With the warmer weather on its way, there is likely to be an increase in this type of offence and we can all play a part in reducing the number of victims.
On occasions the arrival of a ‘tradesman’ at a property has also been the pre-cursor for a distraction burglary too – where they ask to use the toilet or use the phone or make some excuse as to why the job they are doing requires them to take a look inside the house.
Please use the bullet points below as a message guide:
ü Do not allow anyone you don’t know (especially those who attend unexpectedly or uninvited) into your house regardless of how genuine they seem.
ü Never agree to work being carried out at your property to a tradesman who has turned up uninvited.
ü Fit a chain to your door so you can check who is there without fully opening the door.
ü Report suspicious activity to the police on 101 – persons or vehicles who look out of place in your community or whom you have seen knocking on several doors, for instance.
ü Having been approached by a rogue trader and having declined their offer, if the person refuses to leave and becomes aggressive and intimidating, call 999.
ü If descriptions of persons involved and/or vehicle details can be obtained and provided to police that would be ideal but never put yourself at risk in trying to obtain information.
ü Be alert, but not alarmed – very important you get this message right as we do not want people feeling they are not safe in their own homes but we do want them to take some basic security measures.
ü Share this message with your family, friends and neighbours. We all have elderly neighbours or family members or friends with whom we can share this message.