On Saturday 18 May 2019 a 77-year-old woman in Somerton Gardens had a cold caller call on her offering to carry out gardening work. A price was agreed for work, however when the woman later checked the work carried out, found that only a few branches had been cut from trees, and the work took no more that about ten minutes. The price charged by the caller was £150. Similar calls were received by police from residents on Douglas Terrace in the town, again about a male person offering to carry out gardening work for large sums of money.
Constable Wilson said, “We are keen to hear from anyone who may have had this cold caller at their door over the weekend. He is described as being about 5’9″ tall, between 30/40 years of age, dark hair, blue eyes and was wearing orange coloured trousers and jacket. He spoke with an Irish accent and drove a Ford Transit style tipper van.
“We would offer the following advice to householders when confronted by cold callers:-
Do not feel pressurised into agreeing immediate work. Never listen to scare stories and beware of traders who suddenly appear after storms and floods and avoid claims that a low price is only available if you sign up right away.
Do not agree to buy from the first person who calls. Ask yourself if you really want these goods or services.
Do not pay cash up front. Never pay for work before it is completed and don’t hand over large sums of money.
Do shop around if you decide you need work done. Get a minimum of three quotes from reputable traders. Why not consider the council’s Trusted Trader Scheme – which is administered by the Trading Standards Department and can provide details of reliable local traders to carry out work around your home or garden. Details can be found at Trusted Trader
Do report them. Don’t ever feel embarrassed if you feel you have been the victim of doorstep crime. If you feel threatened, unsafe or suspicious of a caller then contact police immediately on 999. If you see something suspicious in your area or want more advice on doorstep crime than contact police on 101, taking note of descriptions of people and vehicles used where possible. You can also contact police anonymously through the Crimestoppers number on 0800 555 111.
“Police Scotland do not recommend dealing with cold callers for property maintenance and repairs to your home,” says Constable Wilson, “and working together we can ensure that we can drive down the number of reports of doorstep crime we receive each year.
“Doorstep crime is a despicable crime and a priority for Police Scotland and will not be tolerated in our communities,” says Constable Wilson. “This type of crime targets the elderly and vulnerable in our communities and we would urge neighbours to play their role in helping keeping them safe. Call us on 101 if you see or suspect any suspicious activity in your area.”