The following message has been received from Avon & Somerset Police on doorstep callers using tactics that have led them to become known as the ‘Nottingham Knockers’..
“Some parts of the force area have seen an increase in door to door callers, often trying to sell cleaning and kitchen equipment. We are taking this opportunity to remind you all that you should not have dealings with callers at the door. Likewise don’t respond to letters or Emails from unknown sources or have dealings with cold callers on the phone.
If you are looking for someone to provide goods or services then please make local enquiries with companies that you know and trust. Your local Trading Standards office can often help with details of reputable tradesmen.
Please remember it’s your door step, it’s your decision. All suspicious callers should be reported to the police using either the 101 or 999 numbers.”
Below ia an extract from a website giving a example of how these people can work.
“They will knock on a door, offering cleaning items which they know are cheap and of very poor quality; the householder also knows they are rubbish but that is part of the scam. Many people will purchase items and pay them something, just to get rid of them. There have been cases of elderly residents handing over large sums as these individuals can be very persistent and confrontational.
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, according to the police. When the note is handed over, the individual 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 their employer usually in a nearby van, 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.. Once on a list, your address could be sold on and on. Hence the repeat nature of these persistent callers.”
Although doorstep calling is not illegal, the law states that a trader who ignores a resident’s request to leave and not return commits a criminal offence