Merseyside Police officers are investigating following a rogue trader incident in Bromborough earlier this month.
On Tuesday 18 May, officers carrying out enquiries in the Bromborough area spoke with a 90-year-old man, who reported that he had been targeted by rogue traders earlier in the month, an incident which was not reported to police at the time.
On Wednesday 5 May, an unknown number of males attended an address to carry out tree removal at the victim’s garden and upon completion, demanded £4,000. When the victim questioned the price, the men surrounded him and left him in fear of violence. He transferred the money online and the men left. Enquiries are ongoing in the area.
Community Policing Inspector Tom Welch said, “This was an appalling incident of intimidation and deception and we’re supporting the victim as we investigate. Sadly such crimes are not always reported at the time, as in this case, which can either be through fear, confusion or shame.
“If you live in the Bromborough area and have seen or been made aware of any similar approaches earlier this month, please pass on any descriptions, vehicles, CCTV or other information to us and we will do the rest.
“These types of despicable offenders prey on the most vulnerable members of society and often leave a profound and lasting impact on their victims. They may claim that work needs doing on a property which is not even required, and charge an extortionate amount of money to carry out any work, which often does not even get carried out.
“Although victims are often left feeling embarrassed and reluctant to report incidents to police, I can assure them we will thoroughly investigate all reports, and offer safeguarding and crime prevention advice to them, their families and friends.
“Elderly people, their relatives and friends should always be wary of callers to their address offering any kind of service, however official they may appear. Identification should always be asked for and produced and, if necessary, contact made with the company they claim to work for to verify identities.”
There are a number of steps everyone can take to help prevent this type of crime and they include:
- Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home. It’s better in the bank where it’s safe
- Do not open your door if you are unsure who the caller is. Always make sure you know who visitors are by asking to see their identification. Never let people into your property if you don’t know them
- Always keep the key chain on the door whilst talking to callers and always check their ID before letting them into your home. Genuine callers won’t mind you doing this. If callers haven’t got valid identification, don’t let them in
- Bogus callers often pretend to be someone official, for example, from a utility company or the water board. They will also try to distract people by asking for a drink of water or if they can use the toilet. Remember “if in doubt, keep them out”
- Remember to close and lock the back door before you answer the front door. It’s a good idea to have a viewer or spy hole and a stout chain fitted to all the external doors to the property
- If someone asks for your help (for example, if they want to make a telephone call or claim to have lost a ball in your garden) always ask a friend or neighbour, or someone else you trust, for help
Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any doorstep offender or rogue trader should ring 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Information can also be provided via their online form: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information-online .
For advice on dealing with uninvited rogue traders, or bogus callers, to your home, you can also contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0345 404 0506.