Police and Hertfordshire Trading Standards are asking people in Stevenage to be on their guard against rogue traders who are demanding cash from elderly and vulnerable people after convincing them jobs need doing on their homes.

The workers were reported to be cold calling in Broadwater Crescent on Tuesday, January 30, and Webb Rise on Wednesday, January 31.

One resident paid up front for what they were told was necessary work, only to be re-visited by the workmen after the work was completed demanding more money.

Officers were able to intervene in another negotiation before any offences were committed.

PC Sonya Gurney who is investigating the reports said: “Elderly and vulnerable people in the area have been targeted by unscrupulous ‘traders’ who have conned them out of hundreds of pounds after carrying out work on their houses which wasn’t needed.

“The rogue traders are cold calling at addresses stating that they have seen a problem with the roof, driveway or other parts of the property and then offering to fix the problem. These people are very convincing and can seem legitimate, which is why people get caught out. But they will demand cash up front, won’t use any paperwork, and often create new ‘problems’ which need fixing to get more money from their victims.

“They may tell you that work needs to be done to your property, however never agree to any work or part with any cash straight away. If you are in doubt, take their information and contact Hertfordshire Trading Standards to check their legitimacy - they have a list of accredited workmen. If work does need to be done, then obtain quotes from a number of companies before parting with any cash.

“If a stranger calls and you are not expecting anyone and you don’t recognise them, don’t open the door. If you witness behaviour which you believe is suspicious, call 999 straight away, with as much information as you can – descriptions of workmen and vehicles will help.

“If you live near to any vulnerable or elderly residents, please look out for them and contact police immediately if you think they may be being targeted.”