New campaign to beat doorstep criminals

East Ayrshire Council is linking with Police Scotland to stop bogus callers in their tracks.

Working with the Council’s Community Safety team and Trading Standards Service, police have launched a major campaign with the message – if in doubt, keep them out.

Doorstep crime by bogus callers or rogue traders can have a devastating effect on residents who fall victim. Many of those targeted are over 60s, who are perceived as vulnerable by criminals.

Chief Inspector Clarke Callaghan said: “Those who commit such crimes are extremely convincing in how they approach and interact with potential victims.

“Anyone can be convinced by the lies that these criminals create”.

People often do not report this type of crime, as they might not even be aware they have been subject to a crime, or they feel embarrassed to tell anyone.

Bogus callers try to get into people’s homes or obtain personal details by pretending to be someone they’re not, such as Council staff, meter readers, charity collectors or even police officers.

Rogue traders usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering to make repairs to houses, driveways or gardens. In reality, they charge inflated prices for shoddy or unnecessary work.

Residents are advised to use a door chain or bar – and if not sure of the caller, don’t answer the door. Police Scotland’s Nominated Neighbour Scheme aims to foster support for those who choose not to open the door to cold-callers.

Anyone who feels threatened, unsafe or suspicious should call 999. For more advice about doorstep crime, residents can contact community police on 101 or Trading Standards on 01563 576602.

Councillor Tom Cook, Depute Leader of the Council and Spokesperson for Improving Community Safety and Equalities, said: “Anyone can be fooled, as these doorstep criminals are professional con artists. However, the over 60s are often specifically targeted.

“The Council works closely with Police Scotland and our aim is to make people aware of this despicable type of crime, which targets people in their own homes, where they should feel safe and secure.

“We want to give our residents confidence in dealing with unexpected callers. We welcome the opportunity to support this important campaign, which complements our own work in helping people in our communities to be aware of this type of crime”.

For further information, contact Elaine Scott on 01563 576013 or email elaine.scott@east-ayrshire.gov.uk

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