A vulnerable elderly resident from Yeovil has had a helping hand from South Somerset District Council’s Streetscene Services team after he was ripped off by a group of rogue traders who were meant to undertake some horticultural work in his garden.
The unnamed resident agreed a fee of £200 with a group of traders for them to remove a tree in his garden and dispose of it correctly. However, the next day when the group turned up and cut the tree down, damaging a neighbours shed in the process, they demanded £500 before they cleared the tree from the garden.
Clearly distressed and wanting the group off his premises, the resident paid the group £300 to get rid of them and then quickly phoned Avon & Somerset police to report what had just happened.
Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Leanne Edwards turned up at the scene and called South Somerset District Council to see if there was anything they could do to help the resident.
Two members of the District Council’s Streetscene Services horticultural services team agreed to help the resident for half a day by clearing the garden and removing the tree that was left by the group of rogue traders.
PCSO Leanne Edwards said, “I want to thank the Streetscene Team for helping the victim. He was extremely distressed and their actions have certainly helped alleviate some of the stress he experienced.
“This week we have worked with our partners and have held a week of action targeting unscrupulous rogue traders, such as these, that prey on vulnerable victims, coercing them into paying ridiculous sums of money for sub-standard and unnecessary work, often not even completing it.
“My advice to people is simple – if you are not sure, don’t open the door. You are not obliged to speak to people or even open your door to anyone who turns up unannounced. If you are worried that you do need work doing, ask friends and family to recommend a reputable trader, get three quotes for the work and never pay cash up front or allow a trader to take you to withdraw money. If you feel intimidated or people won’t leave you alone, dial 999.”
A Council spokesman added, “Clearing residents gardens isn’t something that the District Council would normally do, however the team could see how upset and vulnerable the resident was, so we just couldn’t refuse when the Police requested our help.
“The two team members who helped clear the garden are a credit to Streetscene Services and the District Council. They have done a fantastic job in clearing the mess that was left by the rogue traders. Always check to make sure businesses are legitimate before employing them to undertake work for you”.
PCSO Edwards added: “There are strict rules in relation to door-to-door trades people and you can find more information about this and general advice as to how to protect yourself for rogue traders and other doorstep criminals on our website www.avonandsomerset.police.uk”