Door-to-door patio cleaners con Belsize Park pensioner out of £1,300

Picture: ADRIAN JUDD/ARCHANT LIBRARY

Picture: ADRIAN JUDD/ARCHANT LIBRARY - Credit: copyright Archant 2007

A Belsize Park woman is urging people to be aware of "door to door scammers" after being conned out of £1,300.

Mary*, who lives in Perceval Avenue, was duped by two door-to-door salesmen who offered to clean her patio on June 22.

The following day she confronted the same pair "harassing" a neighbour".

The 75-year-old told the Ham&High. "Somebody came to my door and told me they were doing the people's patio next door and they would do mine for half price so they didn't have to make the journey.

"I was a bit reluctant but I was thinking people need work. They did it and they charged me for two small patios, £1,300 which I think is a lot of money for patio cleaning."

When she asked for a quote they said their machines would tell them "how many metres" they covered.

"They wanted the money before they finished and when they told me I felt a bit conned. If they had told me what it was before I wouldn't have done it."

Perceval Avenue

Perceval Avenue - Credit: Google

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Mary said she did not call the police, but that the next day she saw the men speaking to a neighbour.

"Two men were outside her house, so I tried to get rid of them. I said: 'Go away, she doesn't want it done, you conned me yesterday.'"

She added: "They are hassling women who are on their own. I just think people should be warned."

Susan West, chair of Hampstead's Safer Neighbourhood Panel, said she is in favour of Camden's No Cold Calling Zones – currently in Southampton Road, Quadrant Grove, Maldon Place, Grafton Terrace, Thurlow Terrace and Herbert Street.

"I’d like to see the scheme extended," she said. "I urge people to follow the police’s advice and not to buy goods or services on the doorstep.’’

Cllr  Richard Olszewski, Camden's lead member for finance, said no previous complaints about cold calling or doorstep crime in Belsize Park had been received, "and as such we would not currently consider implementing a cold calling zone".

“However, we continuously assess available intelligence and complaints to consider if any new cold calling zones should be established and would therefore urge [the victim] to report this case to us," he said.

He urged people to contact the Camden Trading Standards service via the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133. 

*Not her real name.