Sidmouth residents targeted by ‘aggressive’ door-to-door salesmen


- Credit: Archant

Elderly residents in Sidmouth have been targeted by ‘aggressive’ door-to-door salesmen - who claim to be former prisoners vying for a fresh start.

However, police are warning people to remain vigilant and make sure their doors and windows are locked when answering the door.

PCSO Richard Shelton told the Herald more than 20 calls were made to police at the weekend (April 27 - 29) from frightened residents who, when refused to buy sellers’ wares, received aggressive responses.

PCSO Shelton said residents were targeted in Sidmouth, Exmouth and Seaton on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

The sellers were aged between 18 and 25.

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He said: “These people were going door-to-door selling household cleaning products, such as dusters and toilet-cleaning equipment.

“They were all male sellers who were telling people that they had been recently released from various prisons and were trying to turn their lives around by selling door to door.

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“However, when some residents refused to buy anything, the sellers’ manner became quite aggressive - for example, they would use bad language.”

PCSO Shelton said East Devon District Council is investigating the sellers, as some had ID badges on them in the form of a peddlers licence issued by Cleveland Council, near Middlesbrough.

He added: “A couple of them didn’t have them and said they had left them somewhere else.

“It is hard to tell if these were bogus sellers.

“Regardless, my advice would be if people come to your door trying to sell products, always remain vigilant towards what is going on.

“Ensure your doors and windows are locked and shut.

“If the person refuses to leave after you ask them to and then become aggressive, call the police on 999.”

PCSO Shelton said there have been no further logs since the incidents were raised with police, and he thinks the sellers have moved on to homes in Dorset.

Information and advice about rogue door-to-door salesman is on the Action Fraud website.

If in any doubt, the centre advises you to ask the person to leave or call Citizens Advice on 03454 040506.

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