A national campaign warning people about doorstep crime has been launched by Police Scotland in Midlothian.
Operation Monarda is a campaign running till June 3.
The campaign highlights that the two main types of doorstep crime are bogus callers and rogue traders and that anyone can be a victim of this type of crime. Between April - September 2017, 336 victims of doorstep crime were conned out of around £420,000.
Bogus callers tend to gain access to homes to steal by claiming to be from perhaps a utility company or a charity. Rogue traders offer services typically carried out to a poor standard at over inflated prices, and may use violence or threats to get payment or consent to carry out work. Sometimes they will just take the money without actually carrying out any work.
The campaign involves Police Scotland working closely with colleagues in trading standards teams in councils across Scotland including Midlothian.
Councillor Russell Imrie, Midlothian Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for trading standards said: “We take doorstep crime very seriously in Midlothian so I am pleased that the campaign had its national launch at the Dalkeith and District Citizens Advice Bureau. There are some easy steps you can take to safeguard yourself from bogus callers and rogue traders.
“Don’t let callers into your house unless they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine. If you are concerned that you have been visited by a bogus or a rogue trader, you can report it to the Police on 101. Call 999 and ask for the police if you feel scared or threatened.”
During the campaign police officers across Scotland will be hosting events and stalls to speak to the public at locations such as banks, garden centres, supermarkets, care providers and groups that support those with dementia.
Chief Superintendent John McKenzie of Police Scotland Safer Communities said: “The more vulnerable in our society do continue to be the main target for these fraudsters and I would urge people to please look out for their elderly or otherwise vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours – but please also spare a thought for yourself. These criminals can be very plausible and persuasive and it can be easy to be taken in by them.”
For further advice you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506 or the Dalkeith CAB directly on 0131 660 1636, or Midlothian Council Trading Standards on 0131 271 3549.