Police want to hear from East Devon residents who have fallen foul of rogue traders in Axminster, Honiton, Sidmouth and Seaton.
The call comes from officers who have received information about a group of men cold-calling at homes in East Devon, offering a range of skills and services.
Police are warning that the scamsters quote the cost, carry out the work then claim the figure was for half the job, and demand further payment.
The rural police team for East Devon are appealing for information, and urging residents to be aware of anyone calling at the door who drives a white transit van, with a Republic of Ireland number plate 123KE1861.
Police have described the leader of the group as being a white male of 5’7″ height, in his late 40s, who may be accompanied or helped by two younger males.
Police said they believe the rogue traders have attempted to burgle a property – conning the resident to allow one of the men to use the toilet, then leaving a door or window unlocked to return later.
A Devon and Cornwall Police spokesperson said: “Police are appealing for members of the public to come forward if they’ve been a victim of rogue traders across Axminster, Honiton, Sidmouth and Seaton.
“Police have received information regarding tradespeople attending a home address and offering to complete work that often is required, for example a roof needing fixing or some gardening that needs completing.
“The tradespeople will provide a quote for the work before completing it to a satisfactory standard.
“When presented with the bill, the tradespeople will state that the quote was in fact only for half of the work leaving the victim to pay out the rest of the money, perhaps feeling uncomfortable to challenge them.
“While information at this stage is scarce, it appears that in one incident one of the males may have gained access to the property to use the toilet and had then left a window or door insecure so that a burglary could take place at a later time.”
Police added: “We’d ask the public to be vigilant for a white Ford Transit with a Republic of Ireland number plate 123KE1861.
“Descriptions of those involved vary but it appears the leader of the group is a white male of 5’7″ in his late forties and he may be assisted by two younger males.”
If you have any information relating to these traders, contact police at email@example.com or by dialling 101 quoting the reference EN/011234/22, or contact Trading Standards on 0808 223 1133.