Warning over bogus workmen and distraction burglars in Nottinghamshire

Dorothy Slingsby from Manor Park takes precautions against bogus callers and burglars
Dorothy Slingsby from Manor Park takes precautions against bogus callers and burglars

Nottinghamshire County Council is warning people to continue to be vigilant for potential doorstep crime after various incidents in the region.

The council’s Trading Standards team says there are sometimes links between those committing bogus property repairs and those who commit distraction burglaries, as crooks can use different approaches to target the vulnerable and gain access to people’s homes.

This follows an alert by Nottinghamshire Police earlier this month to a distraction burglary by two men claiming to be from the “water board” who went to an address in Belvoir Street, in Hucknall on Wednesday, January 6, at 5.25pm.

Nottinghamshire Police are investigating the incident and say that one of the men asked the owner to come round the front of his property to show him what needed doing.

The second male slipped into the house, unseen, via a back door. The householder became suspicious and went back around his house and disturbed the second male leaving the house. It is unclear if anything was stolen.

Trading Standards investigate many doorstep crimes involving bogus property repair scams. These usually involve a cold call at the persons’ home, or where the householder has responded to a leaflet pushed through the door.

Common problems seen include:

• Telling the householder that work needs doing immediately to the roof or other part of the house , that is not needed

• Products or services sold to the householder that are ineffective, or do not do what they are supposed to do – examples seen have included roof coating sprays, solar panel systems, and alarms;

• Undertaking very poor quality work, that has to be put right at cost far more than already paid – examples have included low quality roofing work, block paved drives; and

• Giving a price for a given piece of work but when finished, using threats to extract a far higher price; and

• Signing residents up to expensive long term contracts.

Councillor Alice Grice, vice-chairman of the community safety committee, said: “We continue to remind residents and communities across the county to be aware and vigilant for instances of doorstep crime, whether distraction burglaries or bogus property repairs. This recent distraction burglary incident in Hucknall appears to be an isolated incident which the police are investigating, but it is always worth people being on their guard.”

The county council’s Trading Standards team advise people never to let anyone into their homes unless they are sure of who the person is.

Never leave your house doors unlocked when you accompany someone who you do not know and who you cannot therefore trust. If you are approached by workmen, keep your door chain on and ask to see their ID.

Contact the utility company by phone to check if work is being done in your area – use a phone number you find from the phone book to check the number given to you by the person who is at your door. Genuine visitors will be very happy that you are checking this information and being left outside of your house while you do this. If you suspect it is some sort of scam, immediately contact the police on 101.

In relation to doorstep crime and bogus property repairs, never buy any goods or services at your door.

If you need work done in Nottinghamshire, you can find a fully Trading Standards approved trader by visiting www.checkatrade.com, or by calling Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06, who will find one for you.

Alternatively, use businesses that are recommended to you by a close family member or trusted friend who have previously had work done by the business. Always get three quotes in writing before you have any work carried out on your home.