Cowboy builders on the prowl in Blyth
A suspected cowboy builder has been arrested following reports of doorstep tradesman offering to do work for vulnerable homeowners at inflated prices.
Detectives at Northumbria Police are questioning a 44-year-old man after seven reports of suspicious activity across the region in just one week since July 8.
Residents have contacted officers concerned about tradesmen turning up at their homes unannounced to carry out roofing work.
They offered to carry out the labour at over-inflated prices which were way above what a reputable business would charge.
Six of the victims cold-called by the men handed over cash in return for little or no work. In total, the conmen have so far netted around £2,320.
The offences have been reported across the region including in Blyth, Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland.
Extensive enquiries have been conducted by Northumbria Police and on Wednesday night a 44-year-old man was arrested in County Durham on suspicion of fraud.
Detective Inspector Mal Stratton, of Northumbria Police, has asked family, friends and neighbours of vulnerable people to remain vigilant.
He said: “From the reports we have had, elderly people have been targeted by people we believe to be responsible for fraudulent offences.
“We are aware some victims have handed over money in return for little to no work. Not only does this leave them out of pocket, but it makes them feel embarrassed and upset.
“This offending is despicable and we know the vast majority of our communities will be outraged that vulnerable people have been targeted in this way.
“We have made an arrest and we hope our proactive response reassures those victims, and the wider community, that we want to hold those responsible to account.
“It is sickening that fraudsters will look to take advantage of vulnerable people in our community and that is where we are asking for the support of the wider public.
“If you have vulnerable family, friends or neighbours, then please take the time to speak to them about these types of offences and if you have any suspicions or concerns then please get in touch.”
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.