TIM DREW: ‘Good neighbours stop rogue traders’ is message

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THIS week is National Consumer Week, which seeks to address the problem of rogue doorstep traders targeting vulnerable residents.

This year’s theme is ‘Good neighbours stop rogue traders’ and the initiative runs until tomorrow (Friday).

Latest research suggests that there could be as many as 170,000 incidents of doorstep crime each year.

Doorstep criminals exploit vulnerable residents by convincing them to pay for shoddy, incomplete or unnecessary repair work, charging extortionate fees for services and, sometimes, even driving their victim to the bank to withdraw money. The ‘Good neighbours stop rogue traders’ campaign focuses on preventing doorstep crime by encouraging neighbours, family, friends and carers to look out for those most at risk.

Signs that an unwanted doorstep caller is visiting a neighbour or someone you care for may include a builder’s van parked nearby, particularly one that doesn’t include a company name or contact details, the unexpected commencement of building or maintenance work on your neighbour’s garden or house or poor-quality work visible on the roof, driveway or property.

If you feel anything is amiss, ask your neighbour in private – in person or on the phone – if things are okay. Also, take a note of ‘suspicious’ vehicles’ registration numbers and retain any paperwork.

If you have any problems with doorstep callers, please call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline – 03454 040506 – which will provide advice and pass details on to Trading Standards.

• The Tarring Community Forum meets from 7pm to 8pm on Tuesday, November 11, at the West Worthing Baptist Church in South Street, Tarring. Three surgeries will be held on Thursday, November 13: PCSO Sally Haggis’s will be outside Gala Bingo in Rowlands Road, Worthing, between 10am and 10.30am; PCSO Shauna Bowen’s is at the Findon Valley Library, in Lime Tree Avenue, Findon Valley, from 11.30am to 12.30pm and PCSO Catherine Dines’s at Buddys Café, in South Farm Road, Worthing, between mid-day and 1pm.