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Rogue traders and forceful doorstep sellers across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf

Rogue traders and forceful doorstep sellers across Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf were targeted on Wednesday and Thursday last week in two days of action as part of a crime prevention initiative. Rogue trading is a county wide problem with evidence suggesting a number of burglaries associated with rogue traders.

Officers are warning householders to be cautious when approached by door to door traders who call at your home without an appointment. In the past members of the community have had work carried out by a cold caller without agreeing a price. In some cases victims have been charged enormous amounts of money by companies or people that can not be traced.

Community Safety Inspector Tony Carpenter explained: “Rogue traders will knock on the door, usually saying they are working in the area, and will point out something like a loose tile on your roof or that your drive needs resurfacing. They hugely over charge for their work and then come back time and time again, taking more money each time. They may even charge without completing the work. They pressurize householders into making quick decisions and deliberately overcharge for unsatisfactory goods and services or unnecessary repairs. They only ever take cash.

“This type of crime is happening across our communities, we cannot be complacent. Older members of our communities tend to be more at risk of bogus callers and doorstep rogue traders as their ability to do normal day to day chores around the home gets more difficult. They are also a generation used to buying on the doorstep. They are often more likely to allow someone they have never met before into their home especially if they think they need help.”

Inspector Carpenter added: “Allowing a rogue trader into your home or garden also carries the risk of allowing a stranger, who may have no verifiable identification, recommendation or company background, onto your premises where they can see your valuables and ways into your home”.

“Often the person who has been targeted by the rogue trader feels embarrassed or stupid and unsure of where to turn if they need help so they don’t tell anyone. Sadly, this means that the original scam goes unreported and also makes it easier for the rogue trader to return. If you really are not sure who is at your door then the best advice is really not to open it – if in doubt keep them out!

Police Sergeant Mike Rudall continued: “It’s really important that we are all good neighbours and in particular watch out for older people in the community. If you see anyone acting suspiciously note down any important details such as a description or car registration and contact police immediately. This information could be key in preventing or solving a crime.

“We are doing our utmost to catch criminals who may be actively targeting older people, but we need the community’s help and co-operation to do so most effectively. Someone out there knows who is carrying out these cowardly crimes and can give us the information we need to bring these criminals to justice and help prevent further crime.

PS Rudall commented: “Bogus callers depend on the good nature and good will of others. They tend to target the more vulnerable members of our society and in particular pensioners. Everyone should be cautious of unexpected callers at their home. Our advice is straightforward. Think before you open the door, use your chain or spy hole or look out of the window to see if you recognise them. Do not open the door unless you know the individual. Ask callers for proof of identity. Genuine tradesmen should carry a photographic identification card. Remember, if in doubt keep them out”.

“We are aware that rogue trader incidents are one of the most unreported crimes and we need you to report any incidents that either you, or someone you know, has experienced with door to door callers. More importantly tell us about the people calling in your area or seen acting suspiciously. If they appear to be using a vehicle, or if a car or van you don’t normally see has been in the area for a while, then take down the registration number, colour, make and model if possible and call us. We want to hear from you. With your help we can keep our communities safe from these individuals..”

Please be aware of dangers of rogue traders offering services door to door. If you feel bullied or harassed into getting work done please call South Wales Police on 101. Be alert on behalf of any elderly or vulnerable neighbours.