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3 men have been arrested after 10 seperate scams involving rogue traders across Wiltshire. Police say all the incidents are very similar and they believe there are more victims out there.
The incidents over the last 6 weeks include the offenders working in a team of two or three and have been seen driving a white van with a sign on the side. Twins have been reported as being involved. Victims are contacted and the offenders try to persuade them that household or garden maintenance needs to be completed on their properties. In a number of cases a broken tile has been produced with the claim that it is from the householder's roof and requires repairing. The offenders will then start the work they say needs to be done with or without the householder's permission and will subsequently demand substantial sums of money for the work they have supposedly completed.
In the ten reported incidents, victims handed over between £100 and £5000 to these rogue traders. In some cases the offenders even took the victim to the bank to collect the money.
Two 18 year old men from Thingley and a 31 year old man from Chippenham have been arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation. All three have been released on bail pending further enquiries.
PC David Hunt said: "Rogue traders are brazen and unscrupulous and specifically target the most vulnerable members of our society. They will use intimidating behaviour to extract vast sums of money from their victims for work that often does not need to be completed.
"These people are cunning and manipulative and will make the victim feel as though it is their fault that they have handed over their money which is why people are often reluctant to report these incidents to police.
"However I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise that it is not their fault and to encourage victims to come forward. These rogue traders are committing fraud and we have a dedicated team of officers tasked to deal with such offences and to offer support and advice to victims.
"I would urge anyone who is considering having work done to their house or garden to not engage with cold callers but to ask neighbours or friends for recommendations. Alternatively they can speak to Trading Standards who will have a list of approved businesses operating in their area."
Anyone who has been a victim of rogue traders or bogus callers, or who has any information regarding these incidents can contact Dc David Hunt on 0845 408 7000 ext. 728606. Or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information may be left anonymously if necessary.