Residents in the Thetford area should keep on their guard following a number of cold calling incidents this week, Norfolk Trading Standards and Norfolk Police have said.
On Wednesday several householders were approached on their doorsteps by a group of men offering to undertake hard landscaping such as driveways and fencing.
The callers persuaded a number of residents to agree to the work, which was started immediately with payment required up front.
Sophie Leney Trading Standards Manager for Norfolk County Council, said: “A rogue trader’s typical approach will be to cold call on the doorstep offering to do work for a low price or claiming there’s a problem with your property.
“Once that work commences they will look to get more money out of you by either ‘finding’ further problems that don’t exist or just by demanding a higher price than was originally agreed. This is something genuine tradesmen - who are lawful, trading correctly and looking for work - would never do.
“Our advice is NEVER agree to have work done on your property if someone cold calls you, no matter how much of a bargain you think you might be getting. If you need something doing to your home or garden then rely on recommendations or through reputable channels such as Norfolk County Council’s Trusted Trader scheme.”
Sgt Michael Andrew from Thetford Police said: “We will not tolerate rogue traders preying on the vulnerable, and we will continue to work alongside Trading Standards to assist with their investigation.
“We would urge the public to be aware of the threat of rogue traders in their local area on behalf of friends and neighbours, particularly if they are vulnerable or live alone.”
Police have arrested two men in their 40s in connection with the Thetford incidents who have since been released on bail. Police believe a third male may also have been involved and would appeal for anyone with information to come forward on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
The Norfolk Trusted Trader scheme offers a list of accredited traders which have been checked by Trading Standards, covering everything from plumbing to gardening. For more information or to see our online directory visit www.norfolk.gov.uk/trustedtrader.
If you are concerned about rogue trader activity contact Trading Standards or the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.