Help Dorset Police and Trading Standards share advice this Doorstep Crime Awareness Week

09 February 2017
The organisations will be holding a week of action from Monday 13 to Friday 17 February 2017, offering advice and encouraging members of the public to spread the word about doorstep crime.

A total of 34 events will be held across the county, raising awareness of doorstep crime and advising members of the public of ways they can protect themselves and their loved ones against rogue traders and distraction burglars.

A full list of events is available to download at the bottom of this page.

Officers from Trading Standards and local authorities will accompany Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPTs) at the events, providing residents with enhanced prevention advice. They will be encouraging attendees to share the advice with people in their lives that may be vulnerable to this type of crime.

Chief Inspector Ernie Henley is the Force lead for doorstep crime. He said: “Last October, we were able to speak to over 900 residents. This time, we are pleased to be jointly hosting 34 events across Dorset, and I would urge members of the public to come along.

“Rogue traders and distraction burglars often take advantage of the most vulnerable adults in our communities. Please take the information away from these events for yourselves, but also share it with family and friends that you feel may be at risk.”

Rogue traders will approach a property and offer services such as gardening work, gutter clearing, window cleaning or other house maintenance. They may claim that this work is necessary, or that a neighbour is having the same work done. They carry out unnecessary or overpriced work, at a cost often higher than originally quoted.

Richard Herringshaw, Principal Trading Standards Officer at Dorset County Council said: “Rogue traders will often target people who they know are vulnerable, relying on manipulation and intimidation to con them out of large sums of money.

“They can trick victims out of their life savings and leave them feeling exploited. This has long term effects on that individual’s health, confidence and independence.

“If you believe you need work done to your property, please visit buywithconfidence.gov.uk to find a Trading Standards Approved Trader.”

As well as trying to deceive victims in this way, doorstep criminals may target victims with distraction burglary. The offender will make up a story to gain entry to the property or may distract the homeowner while an accomplice goes inside. They will then steal items of value, including electrical goods or cash, as well as sentimental items such as jewellery or ornaments.

Detective Inspector Neil Wright, of the Dorset Police Priority Crime Team, advised: “Like rogue traders, distraction burglars may watch properties to establish where vulnerable people live. They will attempt to use a convincing cover to manipulate their way into peoples’ homes.

“Please remember that representatives from utility companies, local authorities or the police will always happily show their identification, wait for a trusted family member or friend to join the homeowner, or move to a different location before conducting any necessary business.

“Our advice is simple: if you are not sure who is at your door, do not open it. Please share this message with your family and friends, particularly those who are often at home alone or you believe may be vulnerable.”

If you suspect a rogue trader or distraction burglar is at your door, call the police immediately on 999.

To find an approved trader or report an incident of rogue trading to Trading Standards call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.

If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of doorstep crime, you can report it by going to www.dorset.police.uk and following the ‘Do it online’ function. You can also email 101@dorset.pnn.police.uk or call 101.

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