The recent spell of sunny weather hasn’t just been attracting holidaymakers to Cornwall. The Police and Cornwall Trading Standards are reporting an unusually busy time as they receive reports of potential scams and doorstep cons as well.
And the heat seems to have gone to the heads of home-owners across the Duchy as they have been passing over hundreds and thousands of pounds to cold callers and bogus companies.
In Bodmin a cold-calling driveway gang has persuaded more than 10 residents to have replacement driveways and driveway repairs completed, often charging thousands. The gang, who claimed to be from St Austell, actually has no fixed address and tricked the home owners into having the works done without obtaining quotes from other companies. The same gang has since been spotted in other parts of Cornwall.
In Newquay another gang of doorstep con-men tricked a number of people into having ‘repairs’ to their roof, despite the work not being necessary.
Three cold-callers were arrested in St Ives last week after they attempted to trick elderly home-owners into having work done to their house. Calling at the house unannounced, they had initially offered to clean the windows and drainpipes before suggesting that other work needed doing.
Residents in Falmouth, Camborne and other towns have reported being plagued by nuisance telephone calls and calls from fraudsters purporting to be from the Police. Many then received a call from a company offering to block nuisance calls for a fee. Needless to say the company is bogus and any money paid has been wasted.
“White van man” has been reported calling at homes around St Columb Major offering cases of wine and another has allegedly been selling mis-described, frozen fish door-to-door in Padstow.
Allan Hampshire, Cornwall Council’s Head of Public Health and Protection urged home-owners to be on their guard: “Cornwall seems to be particularly targeted by every fraudster, con-man, scammer and doorstep criminal at the moment. As much as my officers are trying to catch these crooks and bring them to account we are keen to ensure that no-one else becomes a victim. Our advice is simple; NEVER deal with anyone who turns up at your door without an appointment; NEVER pay money to anyone who calls you on the phone.
If you do need work doing on your home, always obtain more than one quote and only deal with firms you know.”
If anyone has any concerns they should contact Cornwall Council Trading Standards on 0300 1234 191 or in an emergency dial 999 and speak to the Police.