Residents are being warned to be aware of rogue traders offering roof repairs in the county.
Officers have received reports of four incidents in recent weeks where a group of up to three men have attended addresses claiming to be from legitimate building companies.
On Tuesday 28 January, an elderly home owner in the Vera Road area of Norwich was approached by a man going by the name of ‘Tony’ who claimed he was from a home improvement company and needed to repair the roof. He told the victim more than £9,000 payment was needed upfront for supplies and scaffolding, which the victim paid but ‘Tony’ did not return.
A man called ‘Tony’ and two other men attended an elderly couple’s address in the Earlham Road area of Norwich on Thursday 6 February claiming they were there to fix the roof. Two of the men were seen to go on the roof and damage the chimney before asking for more than £2,000 to fix it.
On Monday 10 February, an elderly woman paid more than £1,000 to two men who attended her address in the Banham Drive area of Swanton Morley claiming her chimney needed fixing following the high winds. However, the men did not return.
In the most recent incident reported to officers, two men attended an address in the Pembrey Close area of Norwich on Wednesday 12 February and told the elderly occupant his chimney needed fixing. They asked for £1,500 in payment, which the victim paid but the men did not return.
Superintendent Chris Harvey said: “These are callous incidents were elderly residents are deliberately being targeted by ruthless rogue traders.
“We are warning residents to be aware of opportunistic criminals offering roof repairs, particularly after the stormy weather we have been experiencing.
“Remember that you do not have to open your door to cold callers. Close and lock your back door before answering the front door. If you do not recognise the person, speak through the closed and locked door. If they are selling something or offering to do any work on your house or garden, tell them you are not interested and ask them to leave. If they persist tell them you will call the police and call us on 999. If you have any doubt – keep them out.
“Our colleagues at Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards advise that residents should never agree to buy goods from, or have work done, by someone that calls unannounced at their door, or approaches them on the street.
“Often such traders don’t provide full names, trading addresses or contact telephone numbers, resulting in it being virtually impossible to trace them if there are any problems with the work or goods.”
Anyone feeling threatened by a cold caller should call 999 immediately.
Anyone with information about suspected rogue traders should contact police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.