Police warn of rogue traders in Woking

20 September 2012

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Surrey Police is warning residents in Woking to be on their guard following two offences in which pensioners were approached by doorstep rogue traders who claimed work was needed on their property.

In the most recent incident on Monday (17 September) an 84-year-old resident in Goldsworth Park was told he needed leaves removed from the guttering of his house and needed to pay 100 for the job. The resident handed over the money but only a handful of rubbish was taken from the gutters.

The suspects arrived in a white van and spent around half an hour at the residence, sometime between 3pm and 5pm, before telling the owner they would return to complete the work but never went back.

An 87-year-old resident in the Kingfield area was similarly told work was required on the roof of his home by two cold callers. The resident did not want any work done but one of the offenders went onto the roof and threw down some moss saying 250 would clear the job. The victim said he had no cash and offered a cheque which the suspects declined. They offered to take the householder to a cash point machine but again the occupant refused. The incident happened sometime between 12 noon on Sunday 9 September and 5pm on Wednesday 12 September.

Woking Safer Neighbourhood Sergeant Dave Griffiths said: "These types of offences are particularly cruel as offenders target the more vulnerable in our communities. I would re-iterate to all residents that they should follow security advice in order they do not fall prey to such conmen, however believable they seem. As always it is the most vulnerable in our neighbourhoods who are targeted most and I urge any resident who notices anyone acting suspiciously in their area to contact Surrey Police. We all, have a responsibility and I am appealing to neighbours of elderly homeowners to help by making them aware of the potential pitfalls from such fraudulent doorsteppers.

"Always stop to think whether you are expecting any callers, use the chain if you do decide to answer the door and check for identification before letting anyone in. Do not be taken in by these con artists, however convincing their story may sound."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference WK/12/5684. Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously and free of charge on 0800 555 111.

Surrey Police advises residents to source a reputable company if work is required on a property and consumers can source a company through the Buy with Confidence Scheme which is approved by Surrey County Council Trading Standards.