Police in Runcorn are urging residents to be vigilant following reports of rogue traders operating in the town.

Over the last few weeks Cheshire Constabulary has been notified of elderly and vulnerable Runcorn residents being charged excessive amounts of money for substandard work carried out at their home by doorstep callers.

The majority of the victims live in the Castlefields area.

Inquiries are ongoing and officers are urging anyone with information to get in touch.

They are also offering advice on how householders can avoid falling victim to doorstep crime.

Police Constable Stuart Beswick of Runcorn Local Policing Unit said: “Over the last few weeks we have received several reports of rogue traders leaflet dropping and cold calling at the addresses of elderly and vulnerable residents in Runcorn.

“Some of these residents have agreed to have gardening or roof work done at their property and subsequently been charged excessive amounts of money for this work, despite its substandard.

“Rogue traders tend to target the most vulnerable people in communities, taking advantage of them with the intention of getting as much money from them as possible.

“I want to take this opportunity to urge residents to be vigilant and to call the police on 101 if they become suspicious of anyone who comes to their door offering to carry out work.

“I also ask residents to look out for their elderly or vulnerable neighbours by checking on their welfare and reporting any suspicious activity to the police.”

Cheshire Constabulary’s advice:

• Ask a neighbour or friend nearby to check out a doorstep caller before you open the door to them or agree to have any work done

• Always check the identity of doorstep callers by telephoning the company they are claiming to be from

• Use the telephone number listed in your local phonebook or on the company’s website – do not use a number the doorstep caller gives you

• Check whether traders are members of the Local Authority Assured Trader Scheme or the Government’s TrustMark scheme

• If you feel that improvement or maintenance work needs carrying out at your property, discuss this with a relative or a friend who can help you find a reputable trader

• Do not agree to any work on the spot, or sign anything – do not let anyone pressure you into having work done

• It is always wise to get quotes from a number of traders before agreeing to have work done, to ensure that you are not overcharged

• Do not pay cash up front and never go to the bank or to a cashpoint with a trader.

Constable Beswick added: “Just because a doorstep caller has professional looking leaflets or advertisements to show you, that does not mean they are a reputable trader with all the relevant documentation.

“The fact that rogue traders have been fleecing elderly and vulnerable residents in Runcorn highlight the dangers of agreeing to have work carried out by doorstep callers."

Anyone with information about rogue traders operating in the town is asked to call Runcorn Police Station on 101 or give details via https://cheshire.police.uk/contact/general-enquiries.

Alternatively information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.