Residents warned to be vigilant

Published Friday, 18 March 2016

Trading Standards are warning residents again to be on their guard for bogus builders following two attempts to scam residents.

The first involved a 70-year-old man who reported he was cold called by a man who he described as aged about 40, overweight, over 5’9” tall who claimed he was from a company which was an off shoot of Dyno-Rod. The man said there was a problem with sewers at the rear of his property and gained access to the garden to check a manhole.

The man told the resident to speak to ‘the boss’ using his mobile phone. A man named David Pearce told him to check his toilets. On doing so, he found one of the toilets almost overflowing with clean water with toilet paper around the top of the bowl. At this point the resident realised he was being scammed and told the man to leave. It was evident someone had gained access to his home while he was in the back garden. 

A second report to Trading Standards came from Natwest Bank in Bromley when a 78-year-old woman visited the branch to withdraw £5,800 for building work. Bank staff asked her about the work and the customer told them she was stopped in the street by a man who said he was digging up the pavement in her street and needed to check her drains. She allowed him into her house and when asked to check her toilet she discovered it was blocked. The man said he needed to hire a machine to clear the blockage and asked for £5,800 in cash which he said would be refunded when the work was complete. 

Trading Standards are urging residents to report any incidents of cold calling for property repairs and to keep a look out for any vulnerable neighbours. Referrals can be made via the Trading Standards Rapid response Number on 07903 852090

Cllr Kate Lymer, Executive Member for Public Protection and Safety said: “Thanks to Natwest Bank we were able to intervene on this occasion but it’s obvious these despicable criminals set out to target older residents. I would urge everyone to remain vigilant and report suspicious cold callers offering any sort of property repairs to our Trading Standards team.”

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