Monks Kirby has become a new ‘No Rogue Trader Zone’ under a scheme operated by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service and supported by Warwickshire Police.
The launch coincides with Scams Awareness Month 2017 in which Warwickshire Trading Standards is warning residents about rogue doorstep traders.
A survey of Monks Kirby residents found a particular problem with so called ‘Nottingham Knockers’, gangs of men who claim to be reformed criminals on probation schemes, selling poor quality and high priced cleaning products door to door.
These men are often very pushy and even aggressive and it is thought their activities may also include scoping properties for burglaries.
Trading Standards Officers will issue residents with No Rogue Trader door/window stickers and information booklets following the theme of staying safe from cowboy traders. Street signage will reinforce the No Rogue Trader message and act as a warning to rogue traders that they will be reported if they attempt to trade in the area.
Warwickshire County Councillor Howard Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “Police intelligence helped us identify Monks Kirby as a rogue trader ‘hotspot’ so I’m delighted to announce that this Warwickshire village is now our latest No Rogue Trader Zone.”
“No Rogue Trader Zones are one of a number enforcement tools Warwickshire Trading Standards uses to prevent doorstep crime.”
PCSO Dave Banks of the Rugby Rural North Police Safer Neighbourhood Team added:
“Rogue traders commonly referred to as “Cowboys” call at your door and offer to do work on your home or garden that will be either unnecessary or vastly over-priced. They are not qualified to do the work and some have links with distraction burglars. Don’t ever go to a bank or cash point with the trader; legitimate traders would never do this and never allow anyone to pressure you into agreeing to have work carried out. Do NOT open the door if you do not know the caller. If you ask them to leave and they don’t call 101 or 999 in an emergency.”
“If you do think your property needs some work, talk to a relative or friend who can help you find a reputable trader.”
“Never agree to any work or sign anything on the spot and if you are not sure, don’t open the door.”
Warwickshire Trading Standards surveyed Monks Kirby residents. Over half of those who responded said they considered doorstep sellers a nuisance in the area and 61% said they were wary of unknown callers at the door or felt vulnerable in such situations. Two-thirds had had people knocking on their doors in the last year asking them to buy something or offering to do work for them.
The types of goods/work offered included:
- Household goods and cleaning products, including cloths, dusters, mops, tea towels and other “items from a bag”
- Gardening work, including tree felling, tree surgery, tree maintenance, hedge trimming
- Double glazing, replacement windows, conservatories
- Drives, including drive cleaning and sealing, tarmacing and block paving
- Roofing and roofing repairs, including replacement tiles, roof cleaning and sealing
- Guttering and fascias, including cleaning and clearing, repairing and replacing
- Fish sellers
Many of the residents reported that doorstep callers had been pushy, persistent, abusive and unwilling to take ‘no’ for an answer. Some callers were reported to have banged on windows or entered back gardens.
Several residents mentioned visits from ‘Nottingham Knockers’, young men claiming to be ex-offenders on rehabilitation schemes who told sob stories of past misdeeds and how they intended to turn their lives around. These men sometimes carried ID badges with ‘Nottingham’ written on them.
Residents are encouraged to report any suspicious activity to Warwickshire Trading Standards Rapid Response Team via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
Wherever possible Trading Standards Officers will reply either in person or by phone to a report of a suspicious caller in the area.
Doorstep Crime – What you need to know
There are two types of doorstep seller that Warwickshire Trading Standards are concerned about:
Rogue traders. These people often work door to door or use professional looking flyers to approach householders. They generally offer maintenance work such as gardening, driveway repair and roofing and quote low prices which are later inflated. The work they carry out is of a very poor standard and sometimes non-existent! They will appear very plausible on the doorstep and may claim to be working for a neighbour or on behalf of the council. Only after a householder accepts the offer of work can they become intimidating and aggressive if their inflated demands for payment are not met. Rogue traders use false names and addresses and are hard to trace. Victims will find that the rogue traders will attempt to return to offer to carry out more ‘work’.
High pressure sales people. These traders, who sell a variety of goods and services including household products, mobility aids, alarm systems and unregulated investments, use pressure selling tactics to rush you in to a decision. They may have no experience or training and could convince you to buy something that is over-priced and that you didn’t really need or want.
Warwickshire Trading Standards advises consumers not to buy from unexpected doorstep traders and people who cold-call you on the phone. It’s difficult to tell a good trader from a bad one on the doorstep. If you need work carried out to your home, obtain at least three quotes from local traders with reputations to maintain. Wherever possible, go on recommendation.
Residents may also wish to consider using Warwickshire Trading Standards Approved Trader Scheme ‘No Rogue Traders Here’. Phone 0800 233 5000 or visit: warwickshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders
Keep up to date with all the latest scams and rogue trader incidents by subscribing to our free email alert system, visit: warwickshire.gov.uk/scams
Picture (left to right): Tim Washington Chair of Monks Kirby Parish Council, Bill Woolliscroft Vice-Chair of Monks Kirby Parish Council, Joan Davenport Monks Kirby Parish Councillor and Warwickshire PCSO Dave Banks of the Rugby Rural North Police Safer Neighbourhood Team.