As local areas continue to deal with broken roof tiles, shattered windows and damage from falling trees, police say some cowboy contractors are lurking in the shadows waiting to rip off money from vulnerable and unsuspecting members of the public.
Officers have warned that they gain the trust of victims and on occasion even enter their home to steal other items while the owner’s back is turned, also convincing victims to hand over cash for work that is never finished or not done to quality before. Agreed.
Detective Sergeant Phil Thoburn, from Northumbria Police’s Complex Fraud Investigation Team, encouraged people to be wary of door-to-door traders and urged them to keep reporting their concerns.
He said: “Unfortunately, we know that scammers will use every trick at their disposal to try to make money by exploiting people and we will continue to do all we can to help protect people from this.
“Where possible, we urge the public to use a recognized tradesperson and conduct background checks on their business and previous reviews.
“Beware of strangers asking for work on your doorstep, remember you are perfectly entitled to ask for ID, take your time and don’t rush to accept work or pay for services . Discuss quotes with family and friends before agreeing on a price.
“No professional organization should ever be annoyed or frustrated because you take your time – only fraudsters will rush you.
“We will never judge a victim, so don’t be embarrassed and contact us immediately, we are here to help and offer our support.
“If you have been contacted by a bogus builder or trader, please report it to the police.”
Last week, Storm Eunice brought strong northeast winds that damaged several buildings, caused road closures and uprooted trees.
For help and advice visit the Northumbria Police website or search for Action Fraud.
If you need to report a crime or suspicious activity, please visit the Northumbria Police website and use the “Tell Us Something” page.