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Officers warn: ‘don’t open the door to doorstep crime’ in day of action

27 May 2016
Dorset Police and Trading Standards are holding a Doorstep Crime Engagement Day on Wednesday 01 June 2016, to inform the public on how to prevent themselves from falling victim to rogue traders and distraction burglars in the county.

Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Trading Standards Officers will be engaging with people at locations including banks, supermarkets and shopping centres, to make people think: ‘be sure who’s at your door.’

Doorstep crime is when criminals cold call at someone’s house and commit rogue trader offences or distraction burglary.

Rogue traders are people who offer gardening work or maintenance services at attractive rates, but carry out work which is substandard, unnecessary or overpriced. They often use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions.

Distraction burglars will knock at your door and appear to be a legitimate person. They may say they’re a neighbour who’s looking for a lost ball, a representative from a utility company (water, gas, electricity or telephone) or even an official, including a police officer or council official.

The bogus person makes up a story to gain entry into a property and will often distract you whilst they or an accomplice steals personal or valuable items including purses, wallets, jewellery and cash.

Members of the public are invited to meet their officers from their local Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) and Trading Standards Officers, from 9am to 1pm, at events in the following locations:

• Blandford Forum: Tesco, Stour Park, DT11 9PU
• Bournemouth (Moordown): Co-op store, Wimborne Road, BH9 2BN
• Bournemouth (Southbourne): Lloyds Bank, 2 Southbourne Grove, BH6 3RP
• Bournemouth (Westbourne): NatWest Bank, 86 Poole Road, BH4 9EF
• Bridport: TSB, 9 West Street, DT6 3QL
• Christchurch: Saxon Square Shopping Centre, BH23 1QA
• Dorchester: Barclays Bank, 10 South Street, DT1 1BT
• Gillingham: Waitrose, Chantry Fields, SP8 4UA
• Poole: B&Q, Fleets Lane, Fleetsbridge, BH15 3BN
• Shaftesbury: Tesco, Christy’s Lane, SP7 8PF
• Stalbridge: Dike & Son, Ring Street, DT10 2RG
• Wareham: Sainsbury’s, South Street, BH20 4NX
• Wimborne: Waitrose, Rowlands Hill, BH21 1AN
• Weymouth: Sainsbury's, Mercury Road, DT3 5BJ

Inspector Ernie Henley, said: “Our engagement day aims to make as many people as possible aware of what doorstep crime is and how to avoid becoming a victim.

“We want to provide help and advice to the public in order to prevent them, or people they know, from becoming victims to distraction burglary and rogue traders. All too often, the most vulnerable members of our communities fall prey to these criminals.

“Dorset Police is working with our partner agencies to protect the public from such crimes and bring offenders to justice.

“We’d like to encourage everyone to come along to one of our events and speak to their local Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT)and Trading Standards officers about doorstep crime, or anything else you wish to know about.

“We would like to thank the various businesses across Dorset for allowing us to use their facilities to help us get this important message out to our communities.”

James Norman, Regulatory Team Manager at Trading Standards added: “Rogue traders prey on the most vulnerable in society, conning them out of vast sums of money for unnecessary and overpriced work.

“In many cases this is their life savings. When someone falls foul of a rogue trading scam, research shows it has a seriously detrimental effect on the victim’s health and their confidence.
“If you need a trader to carry out any work around your home, however small, visit our Buy with Confidence website to find a Trading Standards Approved Trusted Trader.”

Crime prevention advice:

• NEVER accept work from anyone who offers it over the phone or at your door.
• NEVER go to the bank with a trader or give them your account details.
• NEVER let anyone into your property unless you know them.
• To find an approved trader or report an incident to Trading Standards, call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 404 05 06 or visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk.
• If you suspect a rogue trader or distraction burglar is at your door, call the police immediately on 999.
• If you know someone who is committing these offences or you aware of people selling stolen goods, please call the police on the non emergency number, 101.

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