Warning as rogue traders target elderly people in Thanet

Reputable traders will not cold call

Elderly residents in Thanet are being urged to be alert to rogue traders following suspicious reports in the area.

Officers have received reports between  February 2 and 5 of elderly people being targeted by strangers b who have advised work is needed on their property.

In all three reports, although the victims declined the work, they all said the doorstep caller was persistent in trying to get the work agreed at a high price.

A woman in her 80s reportedly had a man calling at her property in St Mary’s Avenue in Margate at around 12.30pm on 5 February, offering to fix loose roof tiles. During the incident criminal damage was reportedly caused to the victim’s driveway wall, after which the man then increased his quote for repairs from £20 to £1,250.

When the victim said she would speak to her family before agreeing to any work, he left the property and did not return.

He was described as aged in his 30s, and 5ft 5 ins tall. He was smartly dressed with short dark hair and spoke with an Irish accent.

A second man was present too, described as aged in his early 20s, under 5ft 5ins tall, with light skin and dark hair.

They left in a white transit-style pick-up truck.

Anyone with information about the report is asked to call Kent Police on 01843 222289 quoting 46/24132/19.

A similar approach regarding work needed on a roof was reported by a resident in St John’s Avenue in Ramsgate at around 1pm on Tuesday 5 February, and in Dudley Avenue in Westgate on the morning of Saturday 2 February, a resident was approached by a man about getting work carried out on her driveway.

Inspector Jason Brown from Thanet Community Safety Unit said: “While it’s not uncommon to be approached by genuine doorstep callers looking for work, we are urging people to be wary of those who may be looking to exploit the more vulnerable members of our community by charging a large amount of money for work which perhaps isn’t needed and then pressuring them to accept the work.

“Keep an eye on your elderly relatives or neighbours, make sure they know they do not have to accept on the spot repairs and if they have any concerns about their behaviour, call the police.”

8 Comments

  1. I was approached outside my house in the viaduct area of Ramsgate whilst I was on the pavement doing a small job on my car. Two men in a Transit style medium sized white panel van, all properly sign written, drew up when they saw me and one, with an Irish accent, advised me that my pathway and steps to my house needed attention and that they had “some spare flag stones that would do the job” They had obviously called earlier that day- I heard someone knocking whilst having a bath and taken notes as it actually does need doing! He would not take no for an answer and I had to be very insistent that I was not interested. Beware, these are old fashioned con men, cannot even think of something original to say – “spare flagstones” no less! Worrying, though, they have obviously doing the rounds.

  2. Make sure you let your neighbours know about these characters , particularly if they are elderly. Don’t approach them, just ring the police.
    Get on to the police and ask for some patrols to visit your area, prevention is better than cure, that’s their job!

  3. They are doing the rounds. Been knocking in the Northdown Park area of Cliftonville in late January trying it on. Seem you get a lot of doorstep callers round there chancing it. What about checking out the local travellers sites as they always have rogue traders amongst them with transit style pick-ups and vans. They leave behind the evidence when they are evicted too.

  4. It’s not an offence to cold call. The police can’t arrest people for crimes they haven’t committed.
    Join a Neighbourhood Watch scheme. Look out for your neighbours.

  5. The other night at around 7pm there was a ring on my door, and as I never open it unless I know who it is personally, asked who it was? A youngish male voice answered saying he was collecting on behalf of the RSPCA, and I replied I used to be a Trustee with them, and asked what branch was he from? No answer, came the reply!

    I called the police, on 101, and after 16 minutes gave up, so called 999, and an officer noted what had happened. I am getting on a bit now, but no one should open their door at any time, unless they know who it is on the other side first!

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