A MAN has been arrested after a 97-year-old woman handed over cash for work on her Taunton home which was never carried out.

Police were contacted earlier this week with a report of a suspicious man at the property.

Officers attended and found that the woman had paid a man to clear out her guttering and fix loose roof tiles, but that the work had not been done, Avon and Somerset Police say.

A spokesman for the force said: “A suspect was arrested the same day, Monday, July 9, on suspicion of fraud by false representation and later released under investigation.

“Officers are keen to hear from anyone who had a cold caller on that day or who has any other information which could help their enquiries.”
People can get in touch through the police website, www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/contact, or by calling 101, quoting reference 5218151875."

Police say this type of offence is often called ‘Rogue Trading’. It involves unscrupulous traders offering to do work and asking for cash up front, then carrying it out to a poor standard or not at all, doing work unnecessarily, or overcharging.

Officers urge people to help to protect any vulnerable relatives or friends by helping to find reputable tradespeople and sharing police advice:

  • use a door chain with unknown or unexpected visitors 
  • check identification – genuine callers expect this and will wait
  • if you’re not sure, don’t open the door and report it by calling 101
  • if you feel threatened or intimidated call 999 straight away 
  • lock your doors while you’re in your garden or another room 
  • keep cash in the bank, not at home
  • join Neighbourhood Watch
  • set up a 'No Cold Calling Zone' through your local council
  • sign up to utility companies’ password schemes