Police issue rogue trader warning

POLICE in Perry Barr are advising residents to remain vigilant and look out for one another following a number of bogus caller incidents.

On four separate occasions, elderly residents have been targeted by a man posing as a tree surgeon.

The man is described as white, approximately 6’1″ tall and of large build. He is believed to be between 40 and 50 years of age.

The first incident occurred in December last year when an 86-year-old woman was targeted in Great Barr.

The man entered her house after claiming he was sent to chop a tree down. Once inside, he took £300 from cupboard before making off in a light coloured van.

The next two incidents happened two months later on 16 February in nearby Perry Barr.

At 8.10am, a man knocked on the door of an 83-year-old woman and told her he needed to remove a tree from her back garden at a cost of £350. When the lady questioned this and went to ring her son, the man quickly made-off. No money was taken.

The suspect then visited a second address at 9.45am and again claimed he needed to remove a tree from the garden. On this occasion, the 95-year-old victim handed over £220 before the man drove-off in a silver transit van.

The most recent incident occurred in Kingstanding on 21 March. On this occasion the man has knocked on the door of an 89-year-old woman’s house and demanded money for gardening work. When quizzed by the woman, the man made his excuses and left empty handed.

Detective Constable Della Winters, who is investigating, said: “We believe that the four incidents may have been committed by the same man.

“All four incidents happened in the early morning and on all four occasions the man has claimed he needed to cut down trees for maintenance or sewage repairs.

“We urge residents in the area to remain vigilant and to report any concerns immediately.

“Neighbours, friends and family should also look out for one another – especially if loved ones are vulnerable, alone or elderly.”

To prevent similar crimes, DC Winters had this advice for householders of all ages: “Never hand money over to strangers or callers to your home. Always ask to see an identity card before taking the chain off opening the door fully to callers. If you are still unsure about the reason for the visit, you should call the company involved using number in the phone book.”

Anyone with information which may help detectives identify the man should call police 0345 113 5000 and ask to speak with Major Investigation Team 15.

Alternatively, people can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

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