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Distraction Burglary Report

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Rogue Traders and Scams are one of the three priorities voted on by Chiltern Community Forum’s May meeting.

The following report by Sgt Darren Walsh, of the Neighbourhood Policing Team, based in Amersham, has useful information and advice relating to a real-life incident of suspected distraction burglary.

“Yesterday I spent most of my shift dealing with the victim of a suspected distraction burglary. A flyer had been posted through the victim’s door where a tradesman purported he was doing work at one of the neighbours’ addresses and wanted to know if there was any work that needed doing, and that a discount was available for OAP’s. During the work one of the tradesmen entered the rear of the address and was found looking around inside. Back at the station I discovered that the same people have been using the same method to get work across the Thames Valley area followed by a number of complaints about them being rogue traders. Please take care when strangers are working on your property and lock your doors.

Cold calling doorstep traders who target the elderly and vulnerable do cause concern. They offer services like roofing, block paving, guttering, painting and gardening. There are, of course, plenty of reputable traders offering a range of services but they can still be a nuisance if they cold call against your wishes.

So who do you contact if you need work carried out? The advice is: recommendations from people you trust or try buywithconfidence.gov.uk for Trading Standards approved contractors and checkatrade.com

Buckinghamshire & Surrey Trading Standards have ‘Stop Cold Calling’ sticker packs. The packs include door and window stickers which can be stuck up outside people’s addresses and will act as a deterrent to unwanted callers. There is also an indoor sticker to remind people of where they can report these traders to.

I have also been working with Chiltern & South Bucks District Councils’ Community Safety Team in finding a way to beat these people. One scheme that could help the most vulnerable is the “No doorstep selling zones” This is where the street residents can decide if they want a sign will be put off to warn would-be traders and Nottingham Knockers away.

Lets keep the most vulnerable safe – Remember the Op Gauntlet phrase “Pause and Think”“.

From Thames Valley Neighbourhood Alert 05/08/2019.

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