Teenagers who travelled around Surrey knocking on doors claiming to be ex convicts have been charged with fraud
Two teenagers have been charged with theft and fraud offences following an incident when they were going door to door selling cleaning goods in Chilworth at the weekend.
The 17-year-old youths from Middlesborough were working as part of a ‘Nottingham Knocker' style gang and were travelling around Surrey knocking on doors, claiming to be ex convicts attempting to mend their ways, before trying to sell householders products at very high prices.
Police always advise residents to refrain from buying at the doorstep and not to buckle to pressure from salespeople offering supposedly one-off ‘buy it now' prices. However, often kind-hearted residents feel they are helping the Nottingham Knockers to turn their lives around so agree to buy their wares.
On Saturday (26 May) the two young men were invited into a property in Chilworth and the occupier bought a number of items which she paid for with two separate cheques. When an opportunity arose the suspects searched the property and made off with further cheques, cash and a phone.
The victim discovered the fraud when she was presented with two different cheques for a higher value when the teenagers returned to try to get her to sign them.
The offenders made off when challenged but were later located by officers when the van they were travelling in was stopped and items stolen were found.
The 17-year-olds appeared at Redhill Magistrates Court today charged with theft and fraud. One 17-year-old was further charged with theft following an incident in Haslemere on Thursday, 24 July, in which a mobile phone was stolen from outside a property.
The pair will next appear at Guildford Youth Court on 2 November.
Detective Constable Mike Taylor, the investigating officer is advising residents to be on their guard to incidents in which unknown and uninvited people turn up at their door. He said: "These ‘Nottingham Knockers' work in groups across the country and are now active in our area. They are not involved in any officially recognised offender rehabilitation programme and many do not possess Pedlar's Licence, which are issued by police and are necessary for salespeople to be legally allowed to sell door to door.
"Sympathetic members of the public are being duped into buying cheap products at highly inflated prices. Residents should be mindful of security - please don't invite people into your home and certainly never leave such strangers alone in your property. The ‘Nottingham Knocker' style of selling is clearly rife in West Surrey at the moment and I would appeal to anyone who feels they may have been a victim of a similar scam to contact me directly.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Surrey Police on 101 quoting reference 45140062584 or by using the online reporting system found at http://www.surrey.police.uk/. Alternatively the independent charity Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111