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30 November 2017, 07:00
Police in Bicester say youngsters going door to door selling household products are checking out homes to burgle.
Often they have some form of ID which they display, but this is bogus. They may also hand over a card saying they are deaf / dumb / just out of prison / in the process of being reformed and working towards a better life.
The bag of household products is supplied by the man who employs them. We did have a man who lived in the Thames Valley area, who organised the local lads. Traditionally they came from Nottingham – hence the name, but now, they are recruited from anywhere.
How does it work?
The lads are supplied with the full bag and charged a minimal sum for the contents – it used to be £35. They can keep whatever they make, above this amount.
Usually they are deposited in an area from a Transit Van and given a list of streets to work. An hour or so later they are picked up and dropped off, in another location. They often work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
They will knock on a door, offering cleaning items, they know to be rubbish, which the householder also knows to be rubbish. That is part of the scam. Many people will purchase items pay them something, just to go away.
The price for whatever has been purchased usually comes to a note – usually £10. The householder disappears to get this – this is when the scam begins – when the note is handed over, the lad examines the condition and how long it took the person to get it. If it is crumpled, they accept it and move on. If it is crisp flat and new – they are much more interested and may engage the person in more conversation, to obtain details about them. As they leave they will smell the note. If it is slightly musty – this is an indication that there is more in the property. Those addresses are noted. The addresses of elderly / vulnerable / gullible people are all noted.
These are handed to the employer and there is a small amount of cash handed over for each one.
These addresses are then sold in prisons and pubs. If there is a later break-in, the employer expects a further cut of the proceeds.
These lists are purchased by all sorts of people including – tarmaccers, tree workers, roofers, dodgy builders etc.
Once on a list, your address could be sold on and on. Hence the repeat nature of these persistent callers.
In almost every case of a stop check – the lads have long strings of convictions, for burglary and violence. They use the skills learnt during their criminal activity to identify possible targets.
If any salesperson comes to your door ask to see their Pedlar’s certificate - these are only issued to individuals under very strict conditions.