Police are continuing to appeal for information relating to the whereabouts of 43-year-old Matthew Shipman who is wanted in connection with some burglaries on the Isle of Wight.
This is in response to reports police have received of doorstep sellers, colloquially known by some as ‘Nottingham Knockers’, attending people’s addresses and stealing from them.
If you have come into contact with this sort of individual and have concerns please contact police immediately.
On 1 August this year, a man entered the home address of a woman in her 90s from Freshwater, left some household items in her home and then took money from her purse whilst she lay in bed.
The same woman was targeted again on 25 November, during a similar incident in which money was again taken.
Typically what’s being reported to police is that elderly and vulnerable people have been visited at their home address, and have been charged extortionate prices for standard cleaning products such as dish cloths.
On one such occasion, a vulnerable person parted with their bank details and had close to £300 taken.
The person at the door has come across as friendly and approachable, but we want people to be aware of the risks that illegal doorstep sellers pose and to please report things to us immediately so we can assess the circumstances.
If you have elderly friends, family or neighbours living on the Isle of Wight, then please make them aware of the risks and share the police advice with them which is at the bottom of this web article.
Police are investigating recent reports and conducting enquiries. As part of their investigation they would like to locate and speak with Matthew Shipman. He also goes under a number of aliases including Robert Wilson, Matthew Duffield, Matthew Harvey, Terence King and Andrew Shipman.
He is described as white, approximately 5ft 11ins tall, medium build, with very short brown hair and hazel eyes.
Police are also sharing a recent image of him wearing a coat and scarf, and a black baseball cap with a diamond style logo on.
If you see him please dial 999.
If you have been affected by this type of crime and haven’t yet reported it to police, or have information about the incidents referenced to this appeal, please call police immediately on 101 quoting 44210305357, or you can contact them online: https://www.hampshire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/
Police would also want to take this opportunity to provide residents with some advice on doorstep crime more generally.
Many legitimate businesses sell products door-to-door; gas, electricity and water companies need to visit to read your meters; and charities will often call seeking donations. But fraudsters may also knock on your door to part you from your money, or get into your home to steal from you.
The sellers are usually young men who go door-to-door selling household products at inflated prices. They will often claim to be working on behalf of a charity, to support their family, or that they are ex-offenders working as part of a rehabilitation scheme.
They may even show you an ID card before trying to sell to you, the company is unlikely to be legitimate and the card could be a laminated piece of card with a picture on it.
Usually, they work for an unregistered company and are transported to an area in a group to cold call on addresses. They won’t hold the license needed for this type of sale.
Sometimes the scam is used as a way of scoping out addresses for potential burglaries.
Inspector Andy McDonald said: “We want to encourage people to continue reporting incidents of this nature to us so we can understand the scale of it, the areas affected, who is being affected, and follow up all lines of enquiry.
“Residents should never feel under any obligation, or pressured, to buy from people on their doorstep.
“We would discourage you from purchasing from doorstep sellers unless you are absolutely certain of their legitimacy. If you are uncertain, or concerned, politely and firmly decline the sale.
“Should they become aggressive and refuse to leave, please phone us immediately on 999. If it is non-urgent and you wish to inform us of the incident, please call on 101 or report it via our website.
“We want to share some additional advice with you, and encourage people to also share this advice to vulnerable and elderly neighbours, friends or relatives.”
Here is some advice on doorstep callers:
If you have a door chain, always use this when answering the door – if you are not sure, do not open the door.
Anyone selling door to door needs a pedlar’s certificate, which you can ask to see Always check the credentials of unknown callers – do not phone the number on the ID card, use a phone book or a bill.
Never employ cold-calling doorstep traders or engage with cold callers on the phone.
Do not keep substantial sums of money in the homeAlways keep front and back doors locked.
Consider joining or setting up a No Cold Calling Zone or Neighbourhood Watch schemeReport any suspicious callers or activity to the police immediately.
Keep an eye on elderly or vulnerable neighbours, friends and family