Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 26 October 2014

Six rogue traders accused of preying on the vulnerable

The PSNI is warning the public to beware of these suspected rogue traders who are thought to have been involved in a number of frauds and distraction burglaries across Northern Ireland.

Police have taken the unusual step of releasing the images in a bid to identify and prevent the rogue workmen who are targeting older and vulnerable members of communities across the province and extorting money from them.

The majority of reported incidents have involved callers offering to seal Tarmac driveways, carry out garden work or gutter replacements. The criminals normally do not carry identification, are reluctant to give an estimate in writing and will normally ask for cash.

They rarely offer a receipt.

These rogue traders then demand large sums of money from their victims who are often isolated and feel pressured into paying.

Some of the criminals are also working in teams carrying out distraction burglaries, with one or more creating a distraction offering work or services, while others gain access to a property and burgle it. As part of a major operation involving the PSNI, Customs and Excise and Trading Standards, officers yesterday targeted a number of main arterial routes and handed out digital images of six men suspected of being involved in rogue trader activity and distraction burglaries.

The PSNI has warned the public not to approach these men if they recognise them, but to contact police.

Supt Karen Baxter said evidence indicates that the summer, with better weather and longer days, is the prime season for rogue traders and distraction burglars.

Crime prevention officers will also be delivering information to older and more vulnerable members of the community about a Quickcheck freephone number, 0800 013 22 90, which people can call to verify the individual identity of anyone calling at their door.

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