Durham Fish Sellers

As the term suggests these conmen originate from Durham and the surrounding area. They make a huge profit from selling what is essentially black market fish or items that otherwise would have been thrown back into the sea, being wrong species or too small to be landed. Whilst there are many legitimate fish sellers trading in our communities unfortunately it is not uncommon to receive a visit from these traders trying to sell you quantities of fish that has no proper packaging, no species or date information and may not have been transported in a refrigerated vehicle, even though it has travelled all the way from the north of the country.

They normally work with a gang-master and several young male runners calling at your door, using vans on hire with magnetic stick on signs. These criminals charge extortionate prices and are not into selling you one piece of fish, it will be a box full, which they’ll kindly place into your freezer and are long gone before you realise what rubbish has been delivered. They’re looking at £100.00 or more per sale, with the highest amount paid we have heard of being £720.00.

Preying on older and vulnerable people, these conmen will pressurise people into making purchases they do not need or want. They will repeatedly visit those who have bought before and do not take kindly to people saying ‘No’. As well as requesting cash on the doorstep they have also been known to use hand held card machines, inserting large amounts of money into the ‘amount’ paid without allowing the purchaser the chance to see what they have been charged. They will offer no receipt, have no price list and any names/numbers shown will be false.

With no details to trace these conmen once they have gone you will be left with a product that from a safety aspect should never be eaten and without doubt should be put into the waste bin.



• Do Not deal with Cold Callers.

• Do Not allow Cold Callers into your home.

• Do Not pay CASH on the doorstep.

• Do Not allow your bank card to be used on your doorstep.

Be aware of Durham Fish Sellers visiting your neighbourhood and report any such activity immediately to police. By doing this you may well prevent another person falling into the cycle of repeated visits and cash hand overs.

How you can help:

• Explain to elderly relative/friend/neighbour/client how Durham Fish Sellers work.

• Discuss household security – doors/windows.

• Discuss opening the door to un-expected callers.

• Discuss the folly of keeping large amounts of cash in the house.

• Discuss why you should not pay with cash on the doorstep.

• Explain how it is not rude to say ‘No’.

• Reassure person that they can call police for help.

You will not resolve issues or change perspectives overnight, but by REPEATING and drip feeding the information it will sink in and your patience and perseverance will help prevent further crimes.

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