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Warning issued after suspected rogue traders target pensioners in Swanley


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Two pensioners were targets for suspected conmen who tried to dupe them out of huge amounts of cash.

The pair were both told repairs were needed to their homes by gangs working in the Swanley area.

Police have issued a warning following the visits by suspected rogue callers. Stock picture
Police have issued a warning following the visits by suspected rogue callers. Stock picture

One person did hand over some cash but refused to dish out more when demands were made.

Police are now appealing to anyone else who may have received similar visits to come forward, and are warning others to be vigilant.

The first incident happened on November 24, when a pensioner living in the town was approached by some men who said his roof needed repairing.

They gained access to the loft and were paid some cash before demanding a considerably larger sum. The householder refused to pay any more and the men left.

Two days later, three men visited an address in Crockenhill where they tried to persuade a man his home needed a large amount of building work. The elderly resident declined and also refused to let the trio into his home to get some water.

Police have been working with other authorities to spread the message to check traders' history. Stock picture
Police have been working with other authorities to spread the message to check traders' history. Stock picture

Inspector Matt Atkinson, of the Sevenoaks and Swanley Community Safety Unit, said: "In both these incidents, it was reassuring that the residents refused to part with large amounts of cash for work at their addresses that was not required.

"Working with Sevenoaks District Council and West Kent Housing Association, we have been speaking to vulnerable people and advising them to refuse uninvited callers offering on the spot repairs or maintenance.

"Anybody seeking to have work done should speak to family and friends to obtain details of recommended and trusted traders before getting a number of quotes to make a comparison."

Anyone who has been the victim of a similar incident should report it by calling 101, visiting the Kent Police website or dialling 999 if a crime is in progress.

You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111 or using the online form on their website.

Anyone with information about the suspects involved in the two incidents should could call Kent Police on 01622 604100, quoting reference 24-457.

Doorstep fraudsters generally seek to carry out services that are either completely unnecessary or substandard. If cash is paid in advance they will often leave without starting any work.

Services offered will include cleaning driveways, gardening or roof and guttering repairs.

You should be wary if someone tries to pressure you into agreeing to have work carried out. If you ask them to leave and they don't, contact the police on 999. Also, never go to a bank or cash point with a trader.

You can find reputable traders who are members of the KCC Trading Standards approved trader scheme here.

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