Police welcome theatre company’s plans to tackle door step callers

Two plays about how people can beat bogus callers and scamsters will be performed in Leicestershire to mark older person’s month.

The performances have been organised by Leicestershire County Council, to warn older people how to avoid being conned.

Older Person’s Month is being launched at Loughborough Town Hall on Thursday, September 8th.

As part of the month of events, Leicestershire Trading Standards is raising awareness of how bogus callers and scamsters attempt to con older people, especially those in their 70s and 80s.

So far this year, Trading Standards has received 415 calls about rogue traders – 113 of them uninvited – involving goods and services totalling £1.1 million, including home repairs, glazing, domestic appliances and furniture.

The Solomon Theatre Company will be performing two plays:

* Trickster – based on the true story of George, a former soldier who becomes the victim of a distraction burglar, before turning the tables on him.

* Scambuster – based on the true story of Sydney, victim of a rogue tarmac salesman and Mary, who thinks she’s won the holiday of a lifetime.

Both performances are being staged using money paid to court by criminals prosecuted by Trading Standards.

Trickster has proved a great hit across the country – in Dorset, the police received 30 reports of incidents, within four hours of the play being staged.

David Bull, Head of Leicestershire County Council Trading Standards Service, said: “These powerful and entertaining plays will remind older people to take sensible precautions, to avoid being conned.

“Our advice is clear – if something seems too good to be true, it isn’t true!

“Don’t buy or sign up to anything on the doorstep. Keep your chain on, ask for ID and if someone is legitimate, they will be prepared to leave details with you. Don’t be bounced into making any decisions, or disclosing credit card or bank details.”

Inspector Johnny Monks, Commander of Loughborough local policing unit, said: “I really welcome this event, as it is a creative and memorable way of raising awareness about these crimes and preventing further offences.

“Distraction burglars are particularly despicable, as they prey on the most vulnerable people in our communities, so anything that can be done to prevent people falling victim to their con is very welcome.”

Forest Page from the Solomon Theatre Company said: “Live musical storytelling is a very important way to communicate important messages.

“Trickster is a moving and engaging way story of one man’s experience, which empowers us to be more resilient to the fraudsters and emboldens us to report these crimes to the authorities.”

Over the last few months, scams in Leicestershire have included people posing as census collectors, in an attempt to gain entry to people’s houses. People have also tried to target older people and people with learning disabilities.

Recent action taken by Leicestershire County Council includes:

* Setting up no cold calling zones in 570 areas, in an attempt to warn rogue traders that they are not welcome

* Launching a safety sticker and advice cards, giving carers and people with learning disabilities advice on how to spot and report instances of rogue trading. You can obtain one from careleaflet@leics.gov.uk

* Conducting investigations, where rogue trading has been suspected

If you are approached by a bogus caller or scamster, ring Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.

Members of the public who want to see Trickster or Scambusters at Loughborough town hall on September 8th should contact Trading Standards on 0116 305 8000.

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