A 76-year-old Chichester resident has been conned out of £45,000 by a rogue trader.
He is one of the latest victims of a spate of doorstep thefts including rogue traders, a crime which doubled across Sussex during July.
The city resident was approached during July by a visitor suggesting that work was needed on his house.
He left a ‘flyer’ leaflet offering tree and hedge trimming and any interior and exterior work, but with just a mobile number and email, and no landline number or actual address
The resident handed over a total of £45,000 for work which began but was never continued, and the man who started the work, and who said that a further £25,000 would be needed, cannot currently be contacted.
Police are investigating and anyone who has been approached for such work should contact the police online or by calling 101, quoting serial 0500 of 05/08.
This type of crime across Sussex, together with other cold callers saying they are variously from the water companies or drain clearance companies gaining access and gaining cash, has increased.
There were 67 similar reports in July, compared with 31 reports in June, 32 in May and 29 in April.
Of the July reports, 38 were in West Sussex, and so far in 2019 there have been 261 such reports altogether and in 153 of the cases residents lost money, totalling £600,629.
PC Bernadette Lawrie, financial abuse safeguarding officer at Sussex Police. said:
“We urge residents to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious to us. It’s also important to remember to challenge any unknown callers for ID.
“Not sure? Don’t open the door!
“Never have work done by anyone who cold calls. No reputable trader ever approaches a customer in this way.
“If visitors are present and you feel at all unsafe dial 999 at once. Otherwise report online or ring 101 quoting Operation Signature.”
For advice on how to protect your home, visit: sussex.police.uk/advice