Rogue traders con elderly Weston couple of £2k

PUBLISHED: 16:54 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 17:24 14 October 2020

Reports of racial hate crimes are on the increase in the Avon and Somerset areas.

Reports of racial hate crimes are on the increase in the Avon and Somerset areas.

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Homeowners are being urged to be wary of rogue traders after a couple in their 70s and 80s lost £2,000 following an incident in Weston.

Police have released this image to track down a white Ford transit as part of the investigation.   Picture: Avon and Somerset ConstabularyPolice have released this image to track down a white Ford transit as part of the investigation. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Police say two men in a van arrived at a home in the Hillside area of town at around 10.30am on September 7, after the couple contacted a firm they found on a price comparison website offering a guttering cleaning service.

After inspecting the guttering, the men told the couple the roof also needed fixing before quoting a price of £3,500 for the job.

They claimed to need a £2,000 cash payment to purchase materials, before returning to carry out the work. After the men were given the cash, they left and never returned to the address.

Police say the men involved in the incident were white and one was described as wearing a dark, black stretcher-style earring with very short dark hair. The other appeared older and spoke with an Irish accent.

Police have carried out enquiries and hope to track down a vehicle as part of the investigation.

The van is described as a white Ford Transit, with roof bars and a side bar.

Following the incident, people are being encouraged to note the following crime prevention advice regarding being alert to rogue traders and distraction burglaries.

Police say never to open the door to an unexpected caller until you have checked their identification. Use a door chain or viewer, intercom or a smart doorbell, as the constabulary says genuine callers expect it.

The constabulary also says to never agree to have work done or part with money on your doorstep and, ideally, to get written quotes from at least two traders for any work. Always agree a start and finish date and a price before any work starts on your home.

In addition, police say to ask a trusted neighbour to help deal with unexpected callers and people are being encouraged to look out for vulnerable and elderly neighbours, and make sure they know what to do when they receive an unexpected caller.

Finally, police advise people join their Neighbourhood Watch group, and, if people are suspicious of a caller, to ring 999 if they feel threatened or intimidated immediately, otherwise, call 101.

If people are concerned about a trader or think they have been deceived, call 101 or Citizens Advice Consumer Services.


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