Gardens & wildlife

Bogus Callers

Report bogus callers
Link to 10-page PDF Doc How to beat the bogus caller from the Home Office.

Police Community Support Officers
Link to Sussex Police Community Support Officers for our area giving email contact addresses for the 10 Police Community Support Officers for the St Peter's and North Laine area, of which Round Hill is a part.

These officers have different beats and focus on slightly different types of crime. Other ways of contacting Sussex Police are 0845 60 70 999 for non-emergency calls and 999 only in the event of emergency.

Setting up a Neighbourhood Watch
Link to How to set up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

Rogue Traders and Cold Callers
The problem of Rogue Traders is also covered in the Guide entitled
Keep An Eye Open For Bogus Callers, aimed at care professionals & carers, on the Government's www.crimereduction.gov.uk web site.

The best way to avoid rogue traders is to take advantage of free vetting services such as The CheckaTrade web site or the Buy With Confidence Traders list provided by Brighton & Hove Trading Standards Service.

The Round Hill Society also publishes lists of traders personally recommended by Round Hill residents on the basis of work already carried out to a satisfactory standard.

Aggressive &/or Deceptive Doorstep selling
Many cold callers offer to perform small roofing jobs (e.g. repointing chimneys and clearing/sealing leaky gutters) and count on quick cash payment so the job is then done 'on the spot'. It is doubtful whether they are insured against falling off high ladders. Householders should be wary of their own possible liability for accidents which may occur on their own property.

Pressure tactics include stories (which usually turn out to be fabrications) e.g. that a neighbour is having similar work done and that the neighbour has mentioned a leaky gutter or something in need of repair on your property.

Cold callers are often eager to discuss any work to your house, which you might have spent money on, and to ascertain how much you paid to have it done. This is none of their business. Offering this information makes it harder to get rid of cold callers since they will take it as encouragement to offer competitive quotes which you didn't want in the first place.

Cold-callers of this type always appear to be 'in a rush' to help you, though it takes much longer for them to "take no for an answer".

Official web sites advise the use of spyholes, locks and chains, so that householders do not in the first place open the door to cold-callers. They advise that identity checks are made while the caller is still locked outside.

In practice, many of us open our doors to people, at least in the middle of the day, without assuming that we are going to be subjected to aggressive selling or distraction crime.

Aggressive selling or distraction crime?
It is wise to be aware of the possibility of distraction crime, even though it may only be deceptive &/or aggressive selling.

Never go round the back of your house to look at something which the cold caller has drawn to your attention, especially if you leave your front door open. Although you may think the cold caller is on his own, his mates (who would probably assist in doing a guttering job) are likely to be waiting in a car parked just down the road. Considerate traders identify themselves and the members of their team from the outset and are careful to avoid situations where distraction crime might be feared.

Cold callers, who do not show identity, put themselves under suspicion of distraction crime. The official advice for residents, if in doubt, is to shut these people out and to call the police.

We do not currently have a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in Round Hill, though neighbours are fairly good at keeping an eye out and helping each other out. A formal scheme would need somebody's time and effort. These schemes are useful in forging links with the police and warning people of what to look out for. They are are also protective of people in need of extra help.

This page was last updated by Ted on 08-Aug-2007
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