18 May 2012

County residents are being warned about bogus callers claiming to be firefighters.

The warning comes following a distraction burglary in Crick near Daventry last week.

Northamptonshire County Council's Fire and Rescue Service have been informed by Northamptonshire Police about the incident which saw two men gain access to an elderly woman's house having claimed to be firefighters undertaking home fire safety checks. The men were not in uniform but did show some identification.

In order to provide customers with the maximum protection against bogus callers Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service takes full account of the Trading Standards Institute national doorstep cold calling protocol.

All fire and rescue staff carrying out this type of work have up-to-date photographic ID cards and will hand these to people for inspection. For further verification of identity, householders can contact fire service headquarters on the number printed on the ID card (01604 797000) and a check can then be made for the caller.

If the identification check by fire service headquarters staff shows any anomalies the caller is advised to refuse entry to the visitor and the incident will be reported to the police.

Cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage said: "Genuine Home Fire Safety Checks are always on an appointment basis and are not cold calling.

"People should avoid purchasing goods or services from businesses that are cold calling at the door. If any consumer is concerned about a cold caller, or suspect that distraction burglars or rogue traders are operating in their area, they should call the dedicated Doorstep crime Action Network (DAN) hotline on 0345 23 07 702. Remember, If you’re not sure don’t open the door".

The county council's trading standards service run an approved trader scheme and can provide consumers with details of reliable local tradesmen and women to carry out work around their homes and gardens. All members on the Buy With Confidence scheme have been stringently vetted to check for trustworthiness and compliance with consumer protection laws. Details of members can be found by visiting www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders or telephone 0300 126 1000