POLICE and trading standards officers in South Derbyshire are urging residents to be alert and to think twice before employing doorstep callers or traders.
The advice comes as Derbyshire Police are seeing an increase in rogue trader incidents, and officers are now worried the arrival of warmer weather may provide an opportunity for rogue traders to go door-to-door to offer gardening or driveway services.
Officers are also urging residents to report any suspicious callers at their own or their neighbours’ homes.
PC Chris Bond, of the Derbyshire Police’s doorstep crime unit, said: “We’re always grateful of any information we receive about those who go door-to-door offering goods and services as there have been cases where residents have been charged very high prices for low quality or unnecessary work.
“Older or more vulnerable people tend to be targeted and rogue traders have also been linked to other types of doorstep crime such as distraction, burglary and theft.”
Police officers and trading standards officers from Derbyshire County Council often receive complaints from people who have agreed for work to be carried out by doorstep callers and then find the work is of poor quality.
They frequently vastly overcharge, or increase the price after the work has started. In some cases, rogue traders have used high pressure tactics and even taken victims to a cash machine in order to collect their payment.
One incident highlight took place in Repton when an elderly woman was targeted by two men attempting to get her to sign up for expensive garden work.
PC Bond added: “Anyone who is suspicious of a caller should contact the police so that officers can make checks.
“If they are using a vehicle, see if you can get its registration number, colour and make and pass these details on.”
Anyone with information about rogue traders or doorstep callers should call 101.