Warning over rogue traders

Three residents living near Norwich have been tricked out of more than £17,000 in a week after rogue traders turned up on their doorsteps.

Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards department said that last week, householders in Hellesdon, Sprowston and Catton were visited by three men who told them that they had “seen problems” with their homes, including cracked and unsafe chimneys.

After quoting prices of several thousand pounds and completing a small amount of work, claims were then made that more issues had been found, and the price for the job increased dramatically.

At this point the fraudsters said they needed payment in full to buy materials or hire equipment. But once the money was handed over, they left the work incomplete and never returned.

Margaret Dewsbury, Norfolk County Council cabinet member for communities and partnerships, said: “It is disgusting that as we are coming out of lockdown so too are the unscrupulous fraudsters trying to scam people in our communities. Last week the fraudsters struck near Norwich, but they could be moving to other areas of Norfolk so I’m urging people to be on the lookout.

“The simple message is that we should never agree to have work done by somebody who is ‘just passing’ or take their word that the work needs to be done at all.

“Our Norfolk County Council Trading Standards team recommends that we should only deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself to work on your home.”

In the recent incidents two of the three men involved are described as being in their mid-20s and are believed to be using a white Ford Transit with ladders on the roof.

If you see these cold callers in Norfolk, call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on freephone 0808 223 1133 or Norfolk Constabulary via 101. If you feel intimidated, or are concerned for vulnerable neighbours, call 999.

Norfolk County Council Trading Standards always advise to:

NEVER deal with cold callers

NEVER agree to have work done by somebody who is ‘just passing’ or is ‘working at a neighbours’

NEVER allow a cold caller access to your home, roof or gardens even if they are offering to do tasks for a small fee or free

ALWAYS deal with reputable companies you have researched and chosen yourself and get a written quote first

Looking for a Trader you can Trust? Try a Norfolk Trusted Trader at www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader

Could your community help stop doorstep cold callers from targeting vulnerable people by becoming a No Cold Calling Zone? To find out more about the scheme or to apply visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz

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