LOTHIAN and Borders Police are urging people to be alert to bogus workmen who are known to be operating in the Force area, and are appealing for victims to come forward.
Typically, the number of incidents increases in springtime, with bogus workmen offering to do work to gardens or the outside of properties.
In the most recent incident a 69-year-old man in Meadowfield Avenue, Edinburgh, was targeted.
About 5pm last Tuesday, March 29, three men arrived at his property offering to clean the roof of his house.
Despite his refusal, one of the men took him to the back garden while the other two began cleaning the roof.
The men were aggressive and intimidated the man so that eventually he agreed to pay for the work. The men would not accept a cheque, so drove the man to his bank, paying out almost £400 in cash.
The suspects are described as being white, in their 20s, around 6ft tall, with short dark hair, and spoke with Irish accents.
They were driving a white Renault Trafic van, registration HY58 HFC.
In another incident in Clearburn Crescent, Edinburgh, on the same day, a man tried to get into someone’s house by claiming he had to fix a leak. When he was asked to produce identification he was unable to offer any, so was refused access to the house.
He is described as being white, in his 40s, of medium build, rugged complexion, and short dark hair. He spoke with an Eastern European accent, and was wearing a baggy green jumper.
When he was refused entry to the house, he met up with another man on the street, who is described as being white, with short light ginger hair and a three-quarter length black jacket.
It is thought the incidents may be linked, with the men operating throughout the Force area in the past few days.
Urging people to be on their guard, a police spokesperson said: “We would like to take this chance to remind people that anytime an unsolicited caller arrives at the door they should ask for official identification.
“It’s important to take the time to scrutinize the identification, and if there are still concerns do not let them over the threshold, or call the organisation they represent to verify their identity. This alone can sometimes this can prove to be enough a deterrent for the criminal.
“Similarly we would ask for people to be aware of what’s going on in their neighbourhood, and to report any concerns over suspicious activity in the area to police. Be a nosy neighbour, watch out for people and contact us if you’re aware of anything usual.
“The basic advice when it comes to bogus callers is that if you’re not expecting a call, don’t answer it. If you think a caller is bogus, or you feel threatened or unsafe, please contact police immediately.”
More information on how to deal with cold callers is available online:
Anyone with any concerns should contact Lothian and Borders Police on 0131 311 3131, or through the charity Crimestoppers, in confidence and complete anonymity, on 0800 555 111.