A WARNING has been issued about bogus callers who offer services such as landscape gardening in a bid to gain access to properties.

Police are keen to highlight the threat of “distraction burglaries”, where victims unwittingly invite bogus workers into their home.

Experts say this is a popular time of the year for this kind of crime, with many householders keen to prepare their gardens for the autumn and considering jobs that need done before the weather turns.

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A police spokesman said: “Bogus callers and rogue traders are indiscriminate and will call at any house they can, looking to con the occupant and line their own pockets.

“The more vulnerable in our society do continue to be the main target for these fraudsters and I would urge people to please look out for their elderly or otherwise vulnerable friends, relatives and neighbours – but please also spare a thought for yourself. These criminals can be very plausible and persuasive and it can be easy to be taken in by them.

“There are simple steps you can take when a cold caller arrives at your door, such as using a door chain so as not to let them into your home or checking their identity by independent means.

“If you are concerned, please do not feel embarrassed to report this to police, as it’s only by receiving these reports that we can build a picture of the fraudulent activity and take action.

“Genuine callers will expect you to be careful. Call 999 if you feel scared or intimidated. Please be alert – these criminals constantly move from place to place to carry out their con. Bogus callers and rogue traders could, unfortunately, be found on a street near you but, together, we can bring down their criminal enterprise and keep our communities safe.”

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Free and confidential advice is available to those who think they may have been approached by a bogus caller or want tips on what to look out for to ensure a service is legitimate.

A new service can be accessed online at consumeradvice.scot to get information on a range of consumer issues.

Lorna Yelland, team leader with consumeradvice.scot, said: “Bogus callers and rogue traders are a problem all year round but offers of landscape gardening are particularly common at this time of year.

“The best advice is not to respond to unsolicited leaflets unless you are absolutely confident the service is legitimate and do not give away any information if a caller arrives at your door.”