Doorstep fraudsters cost victims more than £1m

Police have issued a warning over courier fraud Picture: GETTY IMAGES/iSTOCKPHOTO

Doorstep fraudsters cost victims in Suffolk and Essex more than £1m - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bogus door-to-door traders cost victims in Suffolk and Essex more than £1million over the past year, latest figures have revealed. 

There were 171 cases of door-to-door sales and bogus tradesmen in Essex between August 2020 and August 2021 - costing victims £922,700 - data from boiler company Heating Force found. 

On average in Essex, victims lost £5,395 per report, and the county ranked fifth out of 45 areas for monetary loss across the UK.

In Suffolk, there were 35 reports which saw victims in the county lose £126,800 between August 2020 and August 2021. 

This meant the average loss to victims in Suffolk was £3,622, and saw the county ranked 35th out of 45 forces for monetary loss to victims. 

In June last year, a 94-year-old Sudbury resident was driven in her dressing gown to withdraw cash for a rogue trader who charged £250 to mow the lawn. 

In March this year, three Lowestoft residents lost cash to rogue traders who demanded £200 upfront for roof repairs which were neither needed nor completed.

Last month, concerns were raised over doorstep crime returning to pre-pandemic levels as life begins to get back to normal. 

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Essex Police said one reason for the high number of incidents is the county's proximity to London. 

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Clarkson said: “Fraud is a significant issue in Essex and we have the highest arrest rate for courier fraud for any outer London force.

“We are seeing more people report incidents of doorstep fraud as more of our communities recognise what it is.

“There have been a number of national operations focused on fraud where our activity around this issued increased and this has increased the public’s knowledge of such offences.

“One of the reasons we see a high number of these incidents is due to our proximity to London as we have seen a number of fraudsters coming to our county from the capital.

“In 2020, we introduced fraud coordinators which has meant we’ve been better at identifying victims.

“We also have a really good working relationship with trading standards and work in partnership with them to tackle rogue traders.”

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Each fraud case will be reviewed to determine whether other agencies such as trading standards are best placed to investigate due to their powers or relevant legislation.

“We understand that fraud has a significant impact both on individuals and businesses and work hard to understand this and support victims during these investigations.  

"We will continue to monitor reports of the type of crime as we move out of the pandemic and normality starts to return.”

Advice on fraud and cold callers from Suffolk police can be found here, with advice from Essex Police here