On Saturday 27 March 2021, officers were called to a property near Melbourne Avenue due to concerns a resident was at risk of becoming a victim of fraud.
The woman, in her 70s, called a friend at around midday to say that a man was on her roof and two other men were on her doorstep asking her to pay them cash for repair work. She explained that the previous day men had turned up outside her home and offered roof repairs but she had not agreed for this work to be carried out.
The concerned friend spoke to one of the men on the phone and asked them to leave. He said he was going to call the police and reported the incident straight away. The suspects left the scene in a van and no money was taken, however roof tiles have been removed and enquiries are ongoing to determine the full extent of the damage.
Officers who attended the scene immediately tracked a suspicious van to Thanet where they arrested a 44-year-old man from Gillingham and two men from Leicester aged 21 and 34 on suspicion of fraud. They have since been released on police bail until 19 April 2021.
Detective Sergeant Marc Cananur from the Economic Crime Unit said: ‘We are so pleased the victim refused this work and phoned a friend for help. This was the right thing to do and meant that officers could make immediate enquiries. As such three men have been arrested and we are now investigating the circumstances.
‘Residents, especially those with elderly or particularly vulnerable neighbours, are urged to keep an eye out for anything that seems suspicious. Whilst some callers may be genuine, others may not and I would urge everyone to be cautious about who you open the door to.’
- If someone knocks at your door, always refuse on the spot repairs or maintenance.
- Don’t allow anyone to pressure you into agreeing to have work carried out. If you ask them to leave and they don’t, contact the police on 999.
- Don’t ever go to a bank or cash point with a trader; legitimate traders would never do this.
- Use reputable traders who are members of the KCC Trading Standards approved trader scheme, run in partnership with Checkatrade.
- Ask for quotes in writing and check that the tradesperson is from the company they say they are from.
- Report anything suspicious straight away by calling 101, visiting the Kent Police website or dialling 999 if a crime is taking place.