Police are appealing for the public’s help to locate 43-year-old Matthew Peter Shipman, who is wanted in connection with incidents on the Isle of Wight in which elderly people have been targeted.
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 (25 November) where a similar incident occurred and money was again taken.
This week we have had other reports of doorstep sellers, colloquially known by some as ‘Nottingham Knockers’ attending people’s addresses.
The circumstances are that elderly people have been visited at their home address, and it’s been reported that vulnerable people 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. We are investigating these reports and conducting enquiries. As part of our investigation we would like to locate and speak with Matthew Shipman.
He is described as white, approximately 5ft 11ins tall, medium build, with very short brown hair and hazel eyes. If you see him please dial 999. *** We 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 home Always keep front and back doors locked Consider joining or setting up a No Cold Calling Zone or Neighbourhood Watch scheme Report any suspicious callers or activity to the police immediately Keep an eye on elderly or vulnerable neighbours, friends and family.