Warning after rogue traders rip off residents

POLICE have issued an urgent warning to Suffolk residents after a spate of “rogue trader” incidents.

The first crime took place in Norton, near Bury St Edmunds, on Wednesday afternoon when two men demanded nearly �1,000 from a woman in her 80s for pouring gravel onto her driveway.

The men, who were accompanied by a third man driving an orange truck, took a cheque from the woman but refused to tell her who to make it out to.

On Thursday two men called at the home of a man in his 80s in Elmswell Road, Wetherden, at noon and asked him to hand over �1,100 for work they claimed to have carried out previously.

They then drove the man into Stowmarket in a small truck to try to get him to withdraw cash from a bank, but after he was unable to produce the money they abandoned him in the town.

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Police were then called to a property in Pentlow Drive, Cavendish, after receiving a report that two men had been seen pulling guttering from the roof, before charging �15 for cleaning it. They then drove off in a small white van with the guttering.

A police spokesman said: “The majority of people who call on homes are genuine, but Suffolk Police want people to be aware of this kind of crime and to take some simple steps to avoid becoming a victim. “The simple routine of ‘lock, stop, chain, check‘ can prevent an offender gaining access to your home. Keep your front and back doors locked, even when at home. Before you answer the door, stop and think if you are expecting anyone.

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“If you decide to open the door, put the door chain or bar on first. Keep the chain or bar on while you are talking to the person on the doorstep. “Check their details and identity before you let them into your home. If it is someone looking for help only go out to help if you have someone else with you. Check their identity with the company concerned if you are at all suspicious.”

To protect yourself from becoming a victim of a rogue trader, Suffolk Trading Standards advise that you never let someone who knocks on your door carry out the work there and then.

Ask them for a quote and then shop around to see if someone else will offer you a better deal. Ask friends and relatives if they can recommend someone to you.

A reputable trader should wait for you to make an informed choice and should not pressurise you in to a sale.

Anyone with any information about these incidents can call West Suffolk CID on 01284 774100 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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