Rogue traders left out in the cold

POLICE are backing a national campaign to leave rogue traders out in the cold.

The Northumbria force is supporting the initiative by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and Consumer Direct to make people aware of rogue doorstep sellers.

Officers will be providing helpful, practical advice for vulnerable people and their families and friends to try to stop them from being scammed.

Often rogue traders will offer services at attractive rates and use persuasive sales techniques to push people into making hasty decisions, or they charge extortionate prices for work.

Chief Inspector Bob Ryan said: “Over recent months we’ve had reports of people knocking on doors saying building work needs doing and then charging extortionate prices.

“These people can often seem very believable and use all sorts of stories to trick their way into people’s homes and either con them out of money or steal from them.

“The best advice is to never hand money over to someone who cold-calls at your home and never let them inside.

“Anyone calling from an official organisation will happily wait or come back while you check their identification.”

Consumer Direct Deputy Operations Manager Michele Shambrook said: “It is not illegal for handymen to canvass for work, but it is important that people are cautious and do not make hasty decisions.

“This campaign is helping people to recognise the warning signs so that they have the confidence to say no if they’re unsure about what is being offered.”

Anyone concerned they may have been the victim of a bogus caller, or who is faced with a dubious tradesman should contact police on 03456 043043.