TRADING STANDARDS URGENT WARNING – NEW ALERT IN BECKENHAM
Bromley Trading Standards are issuing a warning about two incidents that have come to their attention this week involving what appears to be a very similar bogus drainage repair scam.
The details are as follows:
The family of a Beckenham resident informed Trading Standards at the beginning of the week that the resident was cold called and told there was a problem with a neighbour’s drains.
He allowed the men into his back garden to inspect his manhole cover and they told him that work was needed to clear a blockage.
The resident paid £19,800 as a deposit for machinery apparently needed to do this work. This man was also told that he had damp in the property and then paid a further £10,000 to resolve these problems.
A further report which came two days later was received from an elderly resident in Orpington who was cold called by a young man in shorts who said there was a problem with a blockage in a neighbour’s drains.
The resident was asked for permission to inspect his drains and he agreed. The man lifted the manhole cover and left.
Later the resident received a telephone call from a man claiming to be from a company attempting to sort out the problem, he was told that a deposit of £4,000 was needed to hire machinery to clear the blocked drains and asked the resident to go to the bank and get a bankers draft.
The resident refused, but he then received a call from someone claiming to be from the council who applied more pressure in an attempt to get the resident to provide the funds. The resident again refused.
The resident received a further phone call from a another man pretending to be one of the neighbours, again applying pressure and trying to appeal to the resident’s good nature in assisting a neighbour.
“Luckily the resident knows his neighbours and did not fall for this” said a council spokeswoman. When he continued to receive further phone calls, the resident advised the caller he had informed trading standards and police and the caller hung up.
Trading Standards are investigating both these incidents. They advise residents to: call the Trading Standards rapid response team on 07903 852 090 if approached by anyone offering any type of property repairs at the door. Please look out for any neighbours who may be vulnerable to this type of caller.
Bromley council’s executive member for public protection and safety Cllr Kate Lymer said: “These sorts of scams are carried out by seemingly plausible criminals. “Please look out for any suspicious cold callers offering property repairs or purporting to be from the council.”
Trading Standards has issued an additional warning following further reports of rogue trader activity in Beckenham.
Officers were alerted to a vulnerable man who had gone to his bank to withdraw £12,000 in cash. This followed a previous withdrawal a few days earlier of £12,000 for what the man said was roof repairs. Bank staff became concerned and called the Trading Standards rapid response team who attended and discovered the man had been cold called on Tuesday 6 October by two men, both believed to have Irish accents and noticeable tans, who persuaded him that he needed £27,000 worth of property repairs. They were driving a white transit van and may have been using a trading name of Home Improvements or Home Maintenance.
Officers investigating this matter interviewed several neighbours and found a further victim who was elderly and had been pressured into having roof repairs by the same gang. (Source: Bromley council press releases)