Rogue trader alert - police

POLICE are urging homeowners to be vigilant following a report of a rogue trader in the Magherafelt area.

Inspector Donna Bowden urges people to be vigilant . She said, “Rogue traders specifically go out of their way to target the older or more vulnerable members of our community. They regularly use threat and intimidation to extort large amounts of money for poor, unnecessary or in some cases, unsafe work.

“Sadly, many older and vulnerable people still fall victim to rogue workmen and plausible sales people who then demand large sums of money. The majority of reported incidents have involved callers offering to seal tarmac driveways, garden work, gutter replacements. They normally do not carry identification, are reluctant to give an estimate in writing and will normally ask for cash. They rarely offer a receipt.

Inspector Bowden said “It’s really important that we are good neighbours and in particular watch out for older people in the community. If you see someone 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.

“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 senior citizens. Everyone should be cautious of unexpected callers at their home. Our advice is very straightforward.

“Think before you open the door - use your chain and 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. Check this carefully. If you are unsure, telephone QuickCheck on 0800 013 22 90.

“The call is free and will be answered by a trained operator. They will take the details of the company, which the caller claims to be visiting on behalf of, and then contact the organisation to determine if the caller is genuine. If there is anything suspicious the operator will contact the police directly.”