Police are urging residents to be vigilant following a spate of rogue trading targeting elderly people in Huntingdon, as well as St Ives.
The incidents, which are believed to be linked, happened on:
. Saturday, June 17 in Little How, St Ives, where approximately £100 was taken (Crime reference number - CF0340930617)
. Monday, June 19 through to Thursday, June 22 in Greengarth, St Ives, where £450 was taken over four days (CF0354030617)
, Wednesday, June 28 and Thursday, June 29 in Ambury Road, Huntingdon, where £750 was taken over two days (CF0368690617)
The offender has been offering to do gardening work at a reasonable price for elderly victims. However, he asks them to pay up front to cover the cost of tools and then doesn’t complete the agreed work.
He is described as white, 5’7-8”, aged in his early 40s, with short dark receding hair.
PCSO Angie Wilson said: “If you have an elderly relative or neighbour it’s worth talking to them about this type of crime to prevent them from becoming victims of these cowardly offenders.
“To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a rogue trader we advise you to be very wary of giving work to anyone ‘cold calling’ at the door or from a ‘flyer’ posted through your letter box.
“The price may seem reasonable at first, and this is designed to gain your trust, however very quickly you will be asked for more money in order to complete the job, whilst the offenders do very little work.
“My advice would be not to pay them a penny until the job is complete and you are completely satisfied. And if a gardener needs money to buy tools then he’s in the wrong job. Don’t fall for it.
“If in any doubt about a trader or workmen you should contact your local Council Trading Standards Department or the police on 101 or 999 if you are frightened for your safety.”
Rogue trading activity can include:
. Charging an excessive price for garden maintenance or house repairs
. Stating that work needs doing when it doesn’t
. Insisting on full cash payment before the job is finished (or even started)
. Leaving the work incomplete and refusing to finish the job or undertake repairs
. Giving no contact landline phone number and then becoming un-contactable
. Stealing property whilst allegedly undertaking work.
Anyone with information regarding these incidents should call police on 101 quoting the relevant crime number or visit www.contactcambspolice.uk/Report. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.
Spot the signs of rogue trading
Traders have been cold calling in the area
A builder’s van is parked nearby, particularly one that doesn’t include a company name or contact details
Building or maintenance work on your neighbour’s garden or house starts unexpectedly
Poor quality work is visible on the roof, driveway, or property
Your neighbour appears anxious or distressed
Your neighbour visits the bank, building society, or post office more frequently, particularly if they are accompanied by a trader
What can I do?
Ask your neighbour in private, in person or on the phone, if things are okay
If they are displeased, suggest calling a relative or carer on their behalf
Note any vehicle registration numbers
Keep hold of any flyers you have received through your door
Ask if the trader has left any paperwork and put it in a clean food bag
If you suspect a crime, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or your local trading standards office
If the situation with the trader becomes volatile, call the police