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Police warn Tunbridge Wells residents about rogue traders

A builder and a neighbour came together to rescue an elderly woman from a roofing scam.

The two men reportedly called at the pensioner's home near London Road in Tunbridge Wells and said they were completing work at a nearby house and had seen loose tiles on her roof that needed fixing.

The woman, in her 70's, initially agreed to the repairs but then became suspicious and called a neighbour, who said the men were not working on their home.

Police have arrested a suspected rogue trader (1706948)
Police have arrested a suspected rogue trader (1706948)

When the men returned from her roof and demanded £400, her friend accompanied by a legitimate builder approached and challenged them.

The duo left the scene in a van without the cash.

When the roof was inspected it was reported to police that no work had been done and only some moss had been cleared.

The men were driving a silver Ford Transit van with ladders on the roof.

Residents are being warned to keep an eye out for rogue traders. Stock image by Grant Falvey
Residents are being warned to keep an eye out for rogue traders. Stock image by Grant Falvey

One is described as being white, 30 to 40 years old, of stocky build with a cropped or shaved head. The second man is described as being white, 20 years old, of medium build and with black curly hair.

District Commander, Chief Inspector Peter Steenhuis said: "Officers are investigating this incident but I strongly urge residents to be careful about who they allow to complete work at their homes.

"Don’t be afraid to ask them for identification and if you have any doubts about a caller at your door, ask them to leave and come back at a time when you can have a friend or relative with you.

"The public spirited neighbour and the legitimate builder who intervened on this occasion are to be commended for their actions, and I would ask other residents in the area to be alert for suspected rogue traders calling on elderly or vulnerable neighbours."

Here are Kent Police's top tips on how to deter doorstep fraudsters:

  • Do not deal with people who knock on your door offering work on your home or garden and if you have any concerns about their behaviour call the police.
  • Genuine companies will not expect cash in advance or tell you to go to the bank to withdraw money
  • Use reputable traders who are members of the KCC Trading Standards approved trader scheme, run in partnership with Checkatrade.
  • Ask for quotes in writing and check that the tradesperson is from the company they say they are from.
  • Ring at least three traders to get some idea of the average price for the job.
  • Call 101 to report any problems involving suspected rogue traders or call the Citizens Advice Consumer Services Consumer Direct on 03454 04050

Anyone with information that may help the investigation is asked to contact the Kent Police on 01622 604 100 quoting crime reference 24-1144.

Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or using the anonymous online form at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

Read more: All the latest news from Tunbridge Wells

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