Pensioners in Bromley Targeted by Bogus Builders
Police and Trading Standards have issued a warning to residents to be on their guard after two elderly residents were targeted in the London borough of Bromley.
Residents in London have been advised to exercise extreme vigilance after two similar incidents in the Bromley area of London. In both cases, elderly women were approached in their homes by bogus builders, who told them they had a problem with their drains. In each incident, the men entered their homes and tried to persuade them to pay thousands to fix a non-existent problem.
When it comes to household plumbing or drain maintenance, it is essential to get an opinion from a known professional on your own terms, and to treat any cold callers with extreme caution.
The first incident concerned an 89 year-old woman from Beckenham. She visited the town’s NatWest bank and attempted to withdraw £4000 in cash to pay for emergency repairs to the drain in her back garden. Bank officials became concerned, and alerted Trading Standards immediately.
It emerged that a “heavily built” man had distracted the woman with the story about a problem with drains, while an accomplice gained entry to her home and poured water on the bathroom floor to give the appearance of a leak.
The second incident was startlingly similar. A 91-year-old resident of West Wickham was approached by a man fitting the same description and telling a similar story. She was told that the problem would cost £3,000 to put right, and that she needed to pay this in cash, so that they could provide specialist machinery.
In her case, she became aware that something was amiss when she heard her toilet flushing upstairs. Realising that someone else had entered her house, she went straight to a neighbour, who called the police.
Bromley police passed the information on to Trading Standards, who were quick to see the link between the two incidents.
It is fortunate that the vigilance and quick thinking of bank staff, neighbours and police helped ensure that the ladies in question did not fall victim to these criminals, who were described as “despicable” by local councillor Kate Lymer.
She added: “The simple advice here is not to deal with cold callers and never let them in your house, even if they appear to be plausible. I would urge everyone to remain vigilant and report any suspicious callers offering any sort of property repairs to our trading standards team.”
Trading Standards offices across the country take rogue traders and doorstep scammers very seriously. In the wake of these incidents, Bromley Trading Standards are working harder than ever to prevent local residents from becoming victims of this sort of doorstep crime, particularly the elderly.
They echoed Councillor Lymer’s appeal for members of the community to be on their guard, and not only for their own sake. A spokesman said: “We encourage family, friends and neighbours to look out for those around them who could fall victim to rogue traders or scams.”