Be wary of unexpected builders claiming to have carried out work

02 November 2015

Metropolitan Police Service

Police are urging residents to be wary of builders who turn up unexpectedly demanding payment for building work - after elderly residents at two households were conned out of a total of £570 in the last week.

On Wednesday, 28 October at 08:30hrs, an 84-year-old female resident of Cotswold Road, Sutton, answered a call at her front door from a man asking for £350 payment for roofing work which he falsely claimed he had carried out on her home. The resident, who suffers from dementia, withdrew the money from her Post Office account and handed it to the caller when he returned to her home later to collect the money.

On Saturday, 24 October between 09:30-10:00hrs, an elderly couple - a female aged in her 70s and male in his 80s who suffers from Parkinson’s disease - were told by male caller at their address in Grosvenor Avenue, Carshalton, that he needed access to their side of a chimney which they shared with a neighbour to complete a repair. They handed over the £140 he requested only to be told he needed another £80 for materials - money that was also handed over. He promised to return to carry out the work but never turned up.

On Tuesday, 27 October, a trickster who went to the lengths of climbing up onto a elderly male resident’s roof to show that it needed repairing, had his offer of work declined after the resident spotted that the photographs that the roofer had said he had taken whilst up there, were pictures of shed roofs. The caller left the address in Pine Ridge, Carshalton, empty handed.

If you have any information to help police, contact Sutton Police station on 101. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Police advice is to keep unknown and unexpected callers out of your home, and not to pay upfront for any work. Residents should call police on 999 immediately if they are suspicious of anyone calling at their home. It would be especially helpful if residents could check safely whether the caller has a vehicle in the street and to take the vehicle’s registration number. Officers would rather come out and check that everything is OK, than to find someone later has become a victim of crime.

Whilst the vast majority of companies will be genuine, police are urging residents who want improvement work carried out to check out any companies and obtain references from previous customers before agreeing to any work. Most reputable companies will be happy to supply such information.

Sutton Council has a Safer Sutton Trader Scheme which seeks to help residents avoid bogus builders and unscrupulous traders. To find an approved trader please visit the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme website at:
www.sutton.gov.uk/ssts
or call 020 8770 5070 for details.

For advice on rogue traders contact Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 or visit:
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/consumer_service
If you are suspicious of anyone calling at your door, shut the door keeping them outside, and call police on 999. We would rather come out and check that everything is OK, than to find someone who has become a victim of crime.