City of Wolverhampton Council's trading standards team have warned residents to beware of rogue traders who are digging up driveways without permission and billing householders for the privilege.

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The warning comes after a family in the Finchfield area were targeted by the scammers.

Tracey Jones, aged 51, a nurse at New Cross Hospital, was horrified to return home on Monday evening to discover a muddy patch of land where her driveway and small front garden had been.

Mrs Jones, who lives at the property with her partner Carl Osborne, answered the door to a young man last weekend who offered to resurface her garden and driveway for a knock down price.

She told him she was considering giving the driveway a facelift, but was not prepared to agree to the work on the doorstep and would contact him if she wanted the work to be carried out.

"I couldn't believe it when I came home the following evening and my front garden had been completely dug up and they'd left a bill for £2,500," said Tracey.

She added: "All my grass has gone as well as a pathway leading to the back of the property, so I have no idea how I'll manage to get the bins out over the mud.

"I made it absolutely clear to the lad who knocked on my door that I was not able to agree to the work being done there and then. When I rang him to ask what on earth they were playing at, he claimed it was all a misunderstanding.

"I won't be paying them for this mess, but of course we're now landed with a bill to put this right ourselves.

"I want other residents to be wary about these people as it is clearly a con, they target properties in need of some work, do the job when the householders are out, bill them and then claim it is a big misunderstanding. Presumably some people fall for it and figure that because the work needed doing they agree to pay them. It's not right, it's a scam."

Councillor Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council's cabinet member for city environment, said: "Our trading standards team are aware of these sorts of tactics. These people are clearly scammers who are out to take advantage of people.

"They try and trick householders into thinking they have agreed to this work and presumably through a combination of confusion and pressure some people cave in and pay for work they never agreed to.

"It is frankly outrageous that someone will come onto your property uninvited and have the barefaced cheek to dig up your driveway and then hand you a bill for thousands of pounds. Luckily Ms Jones was wise to the con and called trading standards right away.

"Imagine if the victim was an elderly person or someone vulnerable, they could very well be conned out of considerable sums of money. We want to raise awareness that this is going on - we will be looking to take action against the individuals concerned. Hopefully by shining a light on this scam it will scare these dodgy traders off operating in Wolverhampton."

Anyone who thinks they might have been the victim of this scam or anything similar is asked to call Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 404 05 06.

  • released: Thursday 12 January, 2017