ROGUE GARDENERS FIND BANK STAFF A THORN IN THEIR PLANS
Rogue gardeners who drove a woman to her bank to withdraw £4,200 – after quoting her just £400 for the work – found their plans thwarted by alert bank staff.
The woman, who has asked not to be named, had received a flyer through her door and called in a company to carry out minor gardening work. She was quoted £400 but on completion the trader demanded a further £4,200.
Bromley trading standards say the scam is the latest in an increased number of scams involving bogus property repairs – both by cold callers and where residents have responded to flyers through their doors.
The consumer said: “There were several men in my garden. “I was suddenly being told the cost had gone up and felt very uncomfortable and over-whelmed.
“They drove me to my bank in a car, expecting me to pay them in cash. “I am very grateful to the bank for helping me with this.”
Chris Kershaw, manager at NatWest Locks Bottom, became concerned when the victim, who does not want to be named, told staff she needed to pay for some garden work. Officers from Bromley trading standards rapid response team attended the branch and took the consumer home.
Bromley’s executive member for public protection and safety Cllr Kate Lymer said: “This matter is under investigation by trading standards so I can’t go into detail.
“But I am very grateful to the NatWest who recognised this was a scam and reported it to our dedicated rapid response team.
“Our officers have worked very hard through training and raising awareness to ensure local bank staff have the opportunity to report this type of crime and this is exactly the sort of action we expect them to take.
“I know our officers will now do all they can to identify those responsible.”
Bromley’s head of trading standards Rob Vale said: “We have seen an increase in bogus property repairs lately, both by cold callers and where residents have responded to flyers through their doors.
“I would urge consumers not to accept offers of property maintenance or repairs on their doorstep and always get at least two quotes. “They should check the business has a legitimate address and ideally be part of an approved trader scheme”.
The Trading Standards Rapid Response Team can be contacted on 07903 852090.