More than 70 cases have been recorded in South Ayrshire in the last three years
A fresh drive to stamp out doorstep crime is being launched in South Ayrshire to help protect some of the area's most vulnerable people. The Council recently hosted a South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership conference where information was shared with frontline workers on what to look out for and how to combat unscrupulous fraudsters.
There are two main types of doorstep criminal; bogus callers and rogue traders, with many older and vulnerable people falling prey to apparently bone fide professionals. Police Scotland figures show that 74 cases of doorstep crime were recorded in South Ayrshire in the last three years, but with many crimes under-reported by victims due to a fear of being embarrassed for being caught out and for a potential loss of independence.
In recent years there have been serious crimes committed against vulnerable groups in South Ayrshire. Towards the end of 2016 one pensioner in Ayr was ripped-off for more than £9,000 after being approached by two men who offered to replace a small section of felt roofing and defumigate his house for a greatly inflated price.
Claire Monaghan, South Ayrshire Council's Head of Communities said by giving staff the knowledge about what to look for, people will be helped to spot fraudsters early on, "Every single month older and vulnerable people are being targeted by criminals who are more than happy to rip them off for sometimes significant amounts of money.
"By giving staff the knowledge about the type of crimes being committed, the sort of people likely to call or to turn up on doorsteps, and who to contact with concerns, we're spreading the word in our community about how to beat doorstep crime.
"Partner organisations will be working hard in the coming months to speak to at risk groups, sharing information about what to look out for, and reducing the number of people losing out after placing their trust in criminals that are only looking out for themselves."
Chief Inspector Gary I'Anson, Chair of the South Ayrshire Community Safety Partnership said "Anyone can be fooled by a bogus caller – they can be cunning, creative and convincing and they often target the most vulnerable members of our community.
"The consequences of being a victim of crime can be far-reaching and damaging to someone's life. It's important that those who participate in this type of crime are identified, arrested and held to account for their actions.
"Rest assured we will continue to target those involved. We also liaise closely with other agencies and organisations, strengthening our partnership approach, by working together to ensure we keep our residents in South Ayrshire safe."
Anyone with concerns about doorstep crime can contact Police Scotland directly on 101.