Five men arrested on suspicion of fraud after rogue trader concerns

Credit: SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA Images

Officers have arrested five men on suspicion of fraud after a spate of rogue trader reports from concerned residents.

In the past week, officers received numerous reports of tradesmen approaching homeowners in the Newcastle area, and offering to clean driveways and gutters for competitive prices - only to demand significantly higher once the work has been carried out.

In one incident, a 69-year-old woman from Gosforth was told she needed to pay £1,250 for work carried out on her roof after previously agreeing £500.

And, another woman aged 62, from Walbottle suspected foul play after she was charged £350 to have her driveway cleaned.

In all of the accounts reported to officers – the workmen were described as having southern Irish accents and driving vans with Irish registration plates.

An investigation into the reports is ongoing with five victims identified at this time.

Detective Inspector Steve Byrne from Northumbria Police is encouraging anyone else who might have been a victim to come forward.

He said: “In the last week, we have received a number of reports of rogue traders approaching residents in Newcastle and claiming to repair gutters, roofs and clean driveways. However, when their victims unknowingly accept, they find work is carried out to a poor standard and are then charged more than double, sometimes triple, what they were quoted in the first instance.

“Our investigation into these suspected frauds is ongoing, but we are concerned there could be other residents out there who have been affected by this who have not yet come forward.

“If this sounds like something which has happened to you, please get in touch as soon as possible.”

 Five men aged between 18 and 37 have been arrested on suspicion of fraud by false representation and remain in police custody at this time.