A WARNING has been issued by the police concerning doorstep callers who are offering small household products for sale.

The callers may claim to be ex-convicts attempting to mend their ways, however they are not part of any rehabilitation scheme and are often known criminals.

Police have urged people to warn their neighbours, particularly elderly or vulnerable, not to open the door to strangers or buy or sell on the doorstep.

Some doorstep callers may offer poor quality goods at inflated prices and if a caller is not genuine they may be gathering information for future crime.

They may show a card which claims to be a ‘Pedlars Licence’ or work permit but these are not valid and they are breaking the law if using them.

A bag of household products is supplied by someone who employs them, including typical tea-towels.

They are charged for the contents but they can keep whatever they make above this amount.

Usually, they are deposited in an area from a transit van and given a list of streets to work through.

An hour so later, they are picked up and dropped off in another location.

They often work 9am to 9pm.

They will knock on the door offering cleaning products which they know are cheap and of very poor quality, which many people will purchase items and pay out of their ‘good nature’ as they have fallen for the story or, just to get rid of them.

There have been cases of elderly residents handing over large sums as these people can be very persistent, confrontational and also abusive if they get no sale.

A police statement read: ‘‘The price for whatever has been purchased usually comes to a note – usually £10.

‘‘The householder disappears to get this – this is when the scam begins, according to the police.

‘‘When the note is handed over, the lad examines the condition and how long it took the person to get it.

‘‘If it is crumpled, they accept it and move on.

‘‘If it is crisp flat and new – they are much more interested and may engage the person in more conversation, to obtain details about them.

‘‘As they leave they will smell the note.

‘‘If it is slightly musty – this is an indication that there is more in the property.

‘‘Those addresses are noted.

‘‘The addresses of 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 are then sold in prisons and pubs.

‘‘If there is a later break-in, the employer expects a further cut of the proceeds.

Police advise that in almost every case of a stop check – the 'pedlars' have long strings of convictions for burglary and violence.

They use the skills learnt during their criminal activity to identify possible targets.

The public are being encourage to turn doorstep callers away and report any such activity to the police on 101.