Essex Police urge public to stay vigilant against rogue traders

Essex Police are warning against rogue traders. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Essex Police are warning against rogue traders. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Police in Essex are urging the public to be vigilant following an increase in rogue traders and bogus callers in the county.

The warning follows an incident in Dunmow on Thursday where someone offered to carry out work on a driveway claiming they had spare shingle.

It was reported their van had the words ‘Highway Maintenance’ on.

Chris Heaffey, from Essex Police’s crime prevention unit, said: “We have noticed an increase in rogue traders and bogus callers recently, who call at your door claiming to be qualified tradespeople offering to do work on your home.

“These people may call and claim you need services like repairs to your roof, lawn or fences, your driveways power washed or repaired, garden services, or waste clearance.

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“They may seem friendly and persuasive but too often they target vulnerable, elderly people.

“They may also claim to know your neighbours and say they’ve done work for them but often they promise to do work which didn’t need doing in the first place.

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“Rogue traders and bogus callers will also travel around the county trying to trick and con people out of their money so I’d urge the public to be vigilant and call us if they see or hear anything suspicious.”

The force has provided some simple steps to follow for protection against rogue traders:

- Ask for ID: A genuine caller or trader won’t mind you asking them for identification. Don’t be afraid to ask them to come back another time and don’t let them into your home if you don’t want them there.

- Take Control: Ask questions and try to remember that it is a business situation.

- Be aware that doorstep sellers are not your friends: Watch out for clever sales techniques where you may be made to feel like you have lots in common.

- Don’t sign on the spot: Even if it means that you could lose a ‘special discount’. Take time to reflect, think about your purchase and shop around.

- You have a right to cancel: If you do purchase something for more than £35 from doorstep sales people you have 7 days to change your mind. This information should be given to you in writing by the sales person.

- If in doubt, ask the person to leave: Phone Consumer Direct or Essex County Council Trading Standards on 08454 040 506 for further advice.

Any reports of rogue traders or bogus callers can be reported to Essex Police on 101.

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