Ashford residents are reminded to be vigilant of door-step callers after Kent Police received five reports of suspicious activity in one afternoon.

Door-to-door traders are said to have visited properties across Malvern Road, Heathfield Road and Brooke Road on Monday 14 December 2020, with reports received between 1.30pm and 7pm.

The callers were offering household items for sale and claimed to be participating in a rehabilitation scheme for ex-offenders, however, the Probation Service does not endorse such a scheme.

The callers are all described as being men, with their ages ranging from their early 20s through to their late 40s. At least one of them is said to have spoken with a northern accent and claimed to be from Durham.

While Kent Police has received no reports of money being exchanged, some witnesses have reported that a salesman behaved in an abusive or overbearing manner.

Kent Police is offering the following safety advice:

  • If someone turns up unexpectedly always put a door chain on before opening the door and keep it on while talking to callers. If you don’t have a door chain, check who is at the door from the nearest window.
  • Consider fitting extra security measures such as spy holes, door locks and intruder alarms and always check the identity of cold callers. Don’t be afraid to turn people away.
  • Always ensure rear doors and windows are shut and locked when answering your front door.
  • If you have any doubts about whether a caller is genuine, ask them to leave and come back at a time convenient to you and when you’ve had a chance to ask someone to be with you. Call police if you suspect cold callers may be bogus

Inspector Simon Johnson, from the Ashford Community Safety Unit, said: ‘While it is not uncommon for legitimate salespeople to knock on doors, I encourage residents to be vigilant and report any concerns to us.

‘Rogue traders are often excessively demanding and tend to target people who they suspect to be vulnerable, such as the elderly.

‘Please be cautious of this type of activity and share our advice with friends and relatives who may be vulnerable.

‘We are carrying out ongoing enquiries into these reports and would be keen to hear from anyone who has been approached, or who has privately held CCTV that captures the salesmen.’

If you have been approached by a doorstep caller who you suspect is not genuine, report it to Kent Police via the force’s website or by calling 101.

If you have not been targeted, but suspect you have information that can assist with enquiries, contact Kent Police’s witness appeal line on 01843 222289 quoting 14-0615.

You can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111 or using the anonymous online form at crimestoppers-uk.org

By Ed

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