Bogus callers pretend to be from probation service

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A PROBATION trust and police have issued a warning against bogus doorstep callers.

Durham Tees Valley Probation Trust (DTVPT) has joined forces with Cleveland Police to warn people in Hartlepool about bogus callers operating a scam believed to have first been seen last year.

The alert has been sounded by probation chiefs who are warning people not to get taken in by callers who knock on the door and claim to be selling household goods under a scheme run by the Probation Service.

Russell Bruce, chief executive of the DTVPT, said: “We have had examples locally of this kind of problem in the recent past and are concerned that bogus calls are currently being made again in the Hartlepool area.

“We want to make it clear to everyone that the Probation Service would never get involved in any such activity.  We do not have people knocking on doors or cold-calling to sell anything to the public.”

He went on to warn that the people involved in the scam can attempt to play on the good nature of the householder.

“The stories these individuals tell can range from claiming they are on a course run by probation to ‘raise their confidence’, to saying they have been told by probation to do it as a means of improving their employment prospects,” Mr Bruce added.

“But if anyone does receive an approach of this kind we would urge them to politely refuse to purchase anything and to contact the police immediately.”

Chief Inspector Lynn Beeston, of Cleveland Police, said: “Bogus cold callers prey on vulnerable people hoping to make money from the lies that they tell.

“They will not be tolerated and I hope members of the public take notice of our warning and think twice before they open the door or entertain speaking to these people.

“People selling goods on the streets need lawful authority such as a pedlar’s certificate.

“I would urge anyone who is approached by someone claiming to be selling goods on behalf of the Probation Service to contact officers.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call Cleveland Police on (01642) 326326 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.