Police in the Vale of Glamorgan are warning residents of a current doorstep scam working the area. These are calling themselves “Keep Britain Working” or “Nottingham Knocker’s” which are a very similar outfit (if not the same).
They are doorstep callers who target areas offering small household products for sale. These callers may claim to be ex-convicts attempting to mend their ways or ex-servicemen, however they are not part of any recognised rehabilitation scheme.
Please warn your communities, particularly elderly or vulnerable neighbours, not to open the door to strangers or buy or sell on the doorstep. Some doorstep callers may offer poor quality goods at inflated prices and if a caller is not genuine, they may be gathering information for future crime.
Please keep in mind that if cold callers don’t get any sales in your area, they are less likely to return.
How they work
The sellers may say that they are on a “rehabilitation course” arranged by Probation Services or other organisations trying to find people work. This is not the case and often they are known criminals. Probation Services do not run such schemes.
They may show a card which claims to be a “Pedlars Licence” or work permit. This is not valid and they are breaking the law if they are using anything like this.
They may also hand over a card saying they are deaf or dumb.
According to the Police, the bag of household products is supplied by someone who employs them. The males / females are supplied with a full bag of household products (including the typical tea-towels!) 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 9am to 9pm.
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 out of their good nature as they have fallen for their storey or, just to get rid of them. There have been cases of elderly residents handing over large sums as these people 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 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.
Police advise that 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.
Nathan is the Operations Director and one half of Vale Breakfast on Bro Radio. You'll hear him reading local news, hosting at local events and presenting our facebook live videos.