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Warning following Rogue Traders in The Grove, Stourport on Severn

Police officers in Kidderminster are appealing to the community for information following a Rogue trader incident in the Stourport area.

On Friday 19 January, a man in his 70s was approached by an unknown man requesting work checking the roof of the property.

The victim was charged thousands of pounds to strengthen the chimney and have lead added around it. The offender said he needed to return to finish other work on the property.

The same man along with his manager then returned on Friday 26 January stating that more work was required to fix the roof. The victim has then gone to the bank to withdraw a further large sum of money, when concerns were raised by the bank.

It is reported that the offenders were driving a white van with writing on the driver's side.

PC Alexandra Lewis of West Mercia Police, said: "If you need work doing to your house, or if you need to contact a tradesperson always ask friends or neighbours if they can recommend anyone that has done work for them which they have been satisfied with. Don't be fooled by the charm and the low cost of potential guttering, roof work or damp in walls fixes.

"Alternatively look in a local trade's directory and ask the trader for the names of people they have completed work for, so you can check on the quality and cost of the work. It is also wise to get at least three quotes"

If you witnessed anything suspicious within the area or have information relating to these suspected cold callers, then please call West Mercia Police on 101 and quote incident 426s of 26 January.

Alternatively, if you want to give information but don't want to give your name you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or use their anonymous online form at www.crimestoppers.org.uk . Crimestoppers are not part of the police, when you contact them you won't be identified. The only person who knows you have given information is you.

There are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself from distraction burglary:

•    check to see who is at the door by using your door viewer, or looking through a front window
•    always put the chain on before you open the door as this is a barrier against unwanted callers
•    when an unexpected caller claims they work for one of the utility companies, they must be able to quote your password and unique customer number and produce an identity card: all of the utility companies operate password schemes - contact the customer services department and set up a password with them
•    make a note of your customer number, which can be found at the top of the utility bill and keep it handy - this number is unique to your household
•    as added proof of identity, genuine trades people should carry an identification card with their photograph on -check this carefully and keep the chain on
•    if you're unsure about the caller's identity telephone the company the caller claims to represent, but don't rely on them giving you the number as it may be false - genuine callers won't mind waiting
•    if you're still unsure, ask the caller to come back later so that you can arrange for a friend or relative to be present

Issued: 8.14am, Tuesday 6 February, Kieren Bodill, Corporate Communications

Published 06/02/18