Crackdown on doorstep con men

St Helens town hall
St Helens town hall

St Helens Council and Merseyside Police have launched a crackdown on con men who rip off residents in their own homes.

The local authority’s trading standards team and officers will be reinforcing the message that rogue traders preying on elderly and vulnerable people will face prosecution.

The drive comes after a surge in cases of so-called “doorstep crime” over the past few months, with conmen posing as roofers, gutter cleaner, tree surgeons, council officials and driveway layers.

Victims have been left traumatised after paying hundreds or even thousands of pounds for shoddy, incomplete and unnecessary work, with some scammers even taking residents to cash points or banks to withdraw money.

Trading Standards told of one alarming case in which a dementia sufferer was taken to the bank and abandoned, cold and exhausted, to find her own way home in the rain.

Chief Trading Standards Officer Darrell Wilson said: “Our officers need information from our community to help us stop vulnerable residents being targeted by these unscrupulous traders.

“We’ve had recent successes in taking action against conmen after victims, relatives or neighbours alerted us to what had happened.

“Genuine traders who work within the law and with their local trading standards service will not be targeted for action.”

Trading Standards is asking St Helens residents to report cold callers and to keep any leaflets or documents that may be left at their homes.

People are also being asked to note down the vehicle registration of any vehicle people selling goods or services on the doorstep are using.

A directory of trusted tradesmen can be found at www.traderregister.org.uk/sthelens/indexphp

Paper copies of the list are also available.

Anyone who suspects a scam should ring Trading Standards on 01744 676299 or email tradingstandards@sthelens.org.uk