Call for vigilance following reports of rogue traders in Ellesmere Port
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Police are urging people to be vigilant after vulnerable residents were conned out of thousands of pounds by rogue traders in Ellesmere Port.
Over recent weeks officers have been contacted by a number of residents who have paid extortionate prices for work on their homes – some of which was never completed.
In one case a disabled pensioner was charged £66,000 to have a modest sized driveway replaced with block paving.
Meanwhile, in another case the victim paid more than £50,000 for basic maintenance work, much of which was never completed and the work which was done was to a very poor standard.
Chief Inspector Catherine Pritchard, of Ellesmere Port Local Policing Unit, said: “Unfortunately incidents such as this are still happening, with rogue traders targeting vulnerable people and trying to get as much money from them as possible.
“Rogue traders often appear to be highly professional. They can have printed leaflets and vehicles branded with their company name, making people think they are legitimate.
“They often use highly pressurised selling techniques to convince victims to use their services and charge exorbitant prices for work of a poor standard, or work that is never carried out.
“Enquiries in relation to these incidents are ongoing and we are committed to doing all we can to identify the people responsible.
“I also want to take this opportunity to urge people living in Ellesmere Port or anywhere else in Cheshire to be vigilant and to contact the police if they believe that a rogue trader is taking advantage of them or someone they know.
“Call us on 101 or give the details via https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report , and also give the details to the trading standards department at your local council.
“I ask neighbours and family to look out for any elderly or vulnerable neighbours by checking on their welfare and reporting any suspicious activity to the police.
“I also encourage people to follow our advice on how to avoid falling victim to a rogue trader.”
Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: "This kind of activity strikes at the very heart of local communities as those involved tend to target and exploit the most vulnerable in society. The damage and distress caused by rogue traders is despicable.
“As your Police and Crime Commissioner, I want to make it as difficult as possible for these type of criminals to operate in the county – I want to get the message across loud and clear that anyone who takes advantage of the elderly and vulnerable is not welcome in Cheshire.”
Cheshire Constabulary’s advice is:
- Professional looking leaflets or advertisements are not indications of traders being reputable with all the relevant documentation – check whether traders are members of the Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme or the Government’s TrustMark scheme
- If you feel that improvement or maintenance work needs carrying out at your property, discuss this with a relative or a friend who can help you find a reputable trader
- Get quotes from a number of traders before agreeing to have work done, to ensure that you are not overcharged
- Ask for quotes in writing
- It is wise to get quotes from around four different traders to check that the prices quoted are fair
- Do not let anyone pressure you into having work done
- Never agree to have work done unless you have seen examples of the trader’s work
- Do not pay cash up front and never go to the bank or to a cashpoint with a trader
- Make sure that you get contact details and the address of any business you are considering for work at your property – if possible, visit the premises to check that it exists
- Do not be fooled by someone who says that they are just working up the street or that they have done work for your neighbour – ask for specific examples and then follow up to check if what they have said is true
- If someone calls at your home trying to sell you something, do not let them in and ask for ID
- Always check the identity of doorstep callers by telephoning the company they are claiming to be from – use the number listed in your local phonebook or on the company’s website, never use a number the doorstep caller gives you.