Council warns of post-storm conmen

RESIDENTS in West Sussex are being warned to refuse doorstep approaches from ‘so-called builders’ offering to help following the storm on Monday (October 28).

West Sussex County Council trading standards officers warned the public to never accept an offer from anyone who comes knocking and wants to do work on your property.

A number of trees were uprooted during the storm, so householders are advised to be on their guard against all cold callers – especially anyone claiming to be a tree surgeon or roofer.

“There are countless scams that the unwary could fall for, and older people often make easy prey,” said Lionel Barnard, cabinet member for Residents Services.

“Your property doesn’t even need to be damaged – cowboy roofers, for example, can pretend they’ve seen a loose tile, and offer to fix it for a few pounds. When they come down from the roof, it’s often with the shock ‘news’ that repairs will cost thousands.”

Other tricks include pressuring householders into doing unnecessary work, hiding the cost, or providing false names and addresses

Anyone who has a problem with a doorstep caller should contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506. They will provide advice and pass details to Trading Standards, who can advise the best way forward. This could include intervening when the trader is at the address, or is expected to return.