Rogue traders target elderly residents

Residents are warned to be vigilant after a couple of recent cases where rogue traders targeted elderly victims in the area.

The first case took place in Holt, where a 95-year old gentleman was approached at his doorstep by a man claiming to be a ‘plasterer’.

The man, described as slim, in his 40’s, 6ft tall, with stubble and wearing a flat cap, knocked on the victim’s door and offered to do roofing work for £1,200.

He had no identification, but claimed his business was called ‘First Choice’. He then put pressure on the elderly resident by claiming that his property was in danger of flooding after the heavy rain we’d had the previous day.

The resident was told “water would be pouring through the ceilings” if he didn’t have the work done there and then. Sadly, £300 was handed over to this rogue trader.

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In a separate case, elsewhere in Wrexham, a vulnerable lady was targeted in her home by a man going by the name of ‘Alistair’.

The man managed to gain access to her home on the pretence that he was assessing her lack of food in the house due to Covid-19 as she is unable to get food herself. He had no ID with him and appeared to mislead the lady in terms of his own identification.

All care workers and anyone from the council has identification, which they must be able to present when asked. If they don’t have ID, do not let them in.

Wrexham Trading Standards and North Wales Police are currently working together to assess both incidents and provide support to the victims. It is important not to let anyone into your home, especially during this unprecedented time. It is extremely concerning that criminals are out there preying on vulnerable and elderly people in our communities.

Cllr Hugh Jones, Lead Member for People – Communities, Partnerships Public Protection and Community Safety, said: “If anyone knocks on your door and says they are from the council or any other organisation, you should try to check with the organisation directly to verify that the caller is genuine, especially if they don’t have valid ID. Any legitimate caller will completely understand and will wait while checks are made.

“If in the end you cannot be sure that the call is genuine, don’t let the person into your house or give them personal information. If the caller becomes aggressive or if you are feeling threatened at all, you must call the Police.”

Lawrence Isted, Chief Officer Planning and Regulatory, said: “During these difficult times it’s vitally important that we look out for our families, friends and neighbours. In this particular case, a vulnerable person was deliberately targeted and unfortunately ended up handing over money.

“Be extremely cautious of any cold callers. Legitimate businesses very rarely – if ever – cold call at your property, so don’t get pressured into opening the door to them, let alone agreeing to something you’ll regret.

“Always allow yourself enough time to think about your decision and if you’re unsure about anything discuss it with family members and friends before agreeing to anything or handing over money.

“If you believe your property may need work doing to it look for a reputable trader or go off the recommendations of people you trust. This will help you stay safe from doorstep crime.”

If you want to report something you think is suspicious, please contact either Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 0808 223 1133 or North Wales Police on 101.
(Please be aware that there’s a message on the Citizens Advice website saying that it’s taking them longer than usual to respond).

To report a distraction burglar or rogue trader who has taken your money and is still in the area – call 999.

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