Police have arrested a suspect after a vulnerable 97-year-old woman handed over cash for work on her Taunton home which was never carried out.
Officers were contacted earlier this week with a report of a suspicious man at the property. They attended and found that the lady had paid a man to clear out her guttering and fix loose roof tiles, but that the work had not been done.
A suspect was arrested the same day, Monday 9 July, on suspicion of fraud by false representation and later released under investigation.
Officers are keen to hear from anyone who had a cold caller on that day or who has any other information which could help their enquiries.
You can get in touch through the police website, www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/
This type of offence is often called ‘Rogue Trading’. It involves unscrupulous traders offering to do work and asking for cash up front, then carrying it out to a poor standard or not at all, doing work unnecessarily, or overcharging.
Though thankfully this doesn’t happen often, it does disproportionately affect older people – who are more likely to be at home during the day – and can have a significant impact on their wellbeing as well as their finances.
Please help to protect any vulnerable relatives or friends by helping to find reputable tradespeople and sharing police advice:
• use a door chain with unknown or unexpected visitors
• check identification – genuine callers expect this and will wait
• if you’re not sure, don’t open the door and report it by calling 101
• if you feel threatened or intimidated call 999 straight away
• lock your doors while you’re in your garden or another room
• keep cash in the bank, not at home
• join Neighbourhood Watch
• set up a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ through your local council
• sign up to utility companies’ password schemes
Fraudsters can also contact you online or over the phone. Visit the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre Action Fraud’s website, www.actionfraud.police.uk, for up-to-date information on fraud.