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Author Topic: ‘Nottingham Knockers’  (Read 1858 times)
Thames Valley Police
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« on: April 23, 2015, 04:02:08 PM »

Message sent by
Jeffrey Pick (Police, NHW & Community Msg Co-ordinator, Windsor & Maidenhead LPA)

This information update is dated Thursday 23rd April 2015 for the Whole Area.
 
I have received loads of emails this morning, reporting ‘Nottingham Knockers’ right across the Walthams and other areas in RBWM, over the last few days.
 
I doubt if any were reported to the police.  This is a serious scam.  The sole aim, is to locate elderly and vulnerable residents, who have a ‘stash of cash’ in the house.  The addresses are then recorded and sold on, as a ‘Sucker List’, in prisons and pubs.
 
Everyone should use the same words – our NHW moto:
 
I am sorry – I do not buy goods and services, at the door.
 
Close the door firmly, but politely, and immediately call the police on the 101 number.  In this area we call them ‘Nottingham Knockers’, but when you call the police, the operator may come from another area and not recognise this name.  Explain, it is the young lads going door to door, selling household products.
 
DON’T WAIT AND THINK YOU WILL BE BOTHERING US
 
YOU WILL BE PROTECTING OTHER VULNERABLE RESIDENTS AND NEIGHBOURS.
 
 
This is a handout prepared for NHW meetings, you may wish to save it on your computer and print it off and circulate it to your neighbours:-
 
 
NOTTINGHAM KNOCKERS.
 
 
The young lads, who go door to door, carrying a large holdall over their shoulders, selling household products.
 
Usually, they have some form of ID, which they display.  It may look good, but is bogus.  They may also hand over a card, saying they are deaf / dumb / just out of prison / in the process of being reformed and working towards a better life.
 
The bag of cheap household products, is supplied by the man who employs them.  Several years ago, a local man organised the lads.  Traditionally, they came from Nottingham – hence the name - but now, they are recruited from anywhere.
 
IT IS A SCAM
 
The lads are supplied with the full bag of products and charged a minimal sum for the contents – it used to be £35.  They can keep, whatever they make, over and above this amount.
 
They are deposited in an area from a Transit Van and given a list of streets to work.  An hour or so later they are picked up and dropped off, in another location.  They generally work from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
 
They will knock on a door, offering cleaning items, they know to be rubbish, which the householder also knows, to be rubbish.  That is part of the scam.  The smart and assertive, send them on their way.  The vulnerable, succomb.  Many people will purchase items and pay them something, just to go away.  There are cases of elderly residents in Ascot, handing over large sums, as the lads can be intimidating and confrontational.  Often, just the look of them is enough.
 
Residents, must not enter into conversation with them.  They are trained to obtain whatever information, they can get.  We are generally courteous and polite and will answer any question, posed at the door – ‘I tried your neighbour’s house, but there was no response’ – ‘No – they are away on holiday in the Caribbean, for the next 3 weeks’ – or ‘No, they always work late in London and never get home before 9 p.m.’ or ‘No, they only live there a few months in the summer now, they are retired and live most of the winter abroad’.  It is just too simple.
 
Everyone across the entire Thames Valley uses the same phrase – our NHW Motto.  Once they hear it, they know not to bother and move to a new area:
 
I am sorry, I do not buy goods or services at the door.
 
Then firmly, but politely, close the door and immediately call the police, on the 101 number.  They will send an officer out to speak to the lad and move them on.
 
You will not be wasting our time.  You will be helping us, to protect other elderly and vulnerable residents, as well as neighbours, from becoming victims of crime in the future.
 
How does it work ?
 
How can they tell if you have a ‘stash of cash’ in the house ?  Simple !
 
The price, for whatever has been purchased, usually comes to a note – £10.  if you pay using loose change, the lads are not interested in you at all, .  They only become interested, if householder disappears to get the money and this, is when the scam begins.
 
The first thing they note, is how long it took you to get the money – the longer it takes, the more hidden it is – and – the more there is.
 
When ‘the note’ is handed over, the lad examines its condition.  If it is crumpled out of a purse, they accept it and move on – they are not interested in you – you, are not a potential target.
 
If it is crisp, flat, unused and straight from a bank – they are much more interested, particularly if it took a few minutes to obtain.  They will then start to engage in more conversation, to obtain personal details.  As they leave, they will ‘sniff’ the note.  The slightest hint of mustiness – is an indication that the note has been in a draw for some time and there is more in the property.
 
The addresses of all elderly / vulnerable / gullible people, are all noted.
 
These are handed to the employer and there is a small amount of cash, handed over for each one.
 
These addresses – ‘Sucker Lists’ are then sold in prisons and pubs.  If there is a break-in / fraud attempt, several months later, no-one will remember and tie it in, to the visit of the Knottingham Knocker.  Their ‘employer’ receives a further cut, from the proceeds of any subsequent crimes, which affect anyone on a list, originally supplied by him.
 
These lists are purchased by all sorts of people, including – tarmaccers, tree workers, roofers, dodgy builders, fraudsters etc. etc.
 
Once on a list, your address could be sold on and on.  Hence the repeat nature of these persistent callers.
 
In almost every case of a stop check, the lads have long strings of convictions, for burglary and violence.  They use the skills learnt during their criminal activity, to identify possible targets.
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