Suspected cowboy builder arrested after reports elderly homeowners hand over cash for work at over-inflated prices
Northumbria Police have arrested a suspected cowboy builder after receiving reports that a door-step tradesman was offering to do work for vulnerable homeowners at inflated prices.
Officers have arrested a 44-year-old man in County Durham on suspicion of fraud after receiving seven reports of suspicious activity across the North East in just one week since July 8.
It is understood that residents have contacted police concerned about tradesmen turning up at their address unannounced to carry out roofing work and offered to carry out the labour at over-inflated prices.
Six victims which were cold-called by the men handed over cash in return for little or no work – with an estimated total of £2,320 handed over.
On Thursday, July 15, Detective Inspector Mal Stratton, of Northumbria Police, are urging those closest to vulnerable people to remain vigilant against this type of activity.
He said: “From the reports we have had, elderly people have been targeted by people we believe to be responsible for fraudulent offences.
“We are aware some victims have handed over money in return for little to no work. Not only does this leave them out of pocket but it makes them feel embarrassed and upset.
“This offending is despicable and we know the vast majority of our communities will be outraged that vulnerable people have been targeted in this way.
“We have made an arrest and we hope our proactive response reassures those victims, and the wider community, that we want to hold those responsible to account.
“It is sickening that fraudsters will look to take advantage of vulnerable people in our community and that is where we are asking for the support of the wider public.
“If you have vulnerable family, friends or neighbours then please take the time to speak to them about these types of offences and if you have any suspicions or concerns then please get in touch.”
You can report suspicious activity online via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the Northumbria Police website or by calling 101
Alternatively, you can report information anonymously by calling independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.