You may know this group as ‘the duster sellers’. They are normally young lads that turn up on your doorstep with a huge black holdall full of cleaning products ranging from tea towels, dishcloths and dusters to sprays, polishes and even small clothing items. Initially they all came from the Nottingham area, obtaining their goods from a warehouse at Clifton just outside of Nottingham and they then come ‘knocking’ on your door to trade, hence the term ‘Nottingham Knockers’. Unfortunately, not only are they after selling you poor quality items at highly inflated prices they are also checking out suitable targets for details to be sold onwards to professional burglars.
Once they have their holdall of products, the teams, normally six in number, are shipped out in vans and mini buses to work an area. They will readily admit to being ex-convicts trying to make a new start in life by working for a living and may show a card purporting to be part of a probation scheme or claim to be deaf or mute, again showing an appropriate card. These ID cards are all mocked up and have no legal bearing. The probation service does not and would not be involved in any such working methods. Again, these young men deal in cash on the doorstep, trying to work sales into £ notes by using the ‘I’ve got no change’ routine. It has been held that the Knockers look out for fresh notes and may even smell the notes to see if they are musty with a view to then ‘trading’ that persons location to other criminals, thinking that the note they have been given comes from a much larger cache.
It is a known fact that people who have purchased from Nottingham Knockers and ‘paid in cash’ on the doorstep have become victims of a household burglary shortly afterwards with many instances of anecdotal evidence towards this sad fact. Some victims have had weekly visits from these criminals, starting with selling items for £10 but escalating week on week until the weekly price reaches £60, £70 or even much higher. An example of the increase Nottingham Knockers can make follows with the help of this picture. These are genuine items purchased by an elderly gentleman in South Lincolnshire.
Question: “How much would YOU pay for these 10 items?”
Question:“How much did this elderly gent pay a Nottingham Knocker for these 10 items?”
Answer - £550.00 CASH!
Identified as a victim by his carer, it transpires that he had been visited by Nottingham Knockers for months, each time the amount requested was getting higher and higher, with the elderly gent saying “I knew I was paying too much, but I just didn’t like to say no”.
Many people purchase from sellers just to get shut of them, others because they feel sorry for them. But once you have purchased from Nottingham Knockers they will keep returning to try their luck once more. We also have cases where they have become violent and forced their way into people’s homes to obtain further cash. Again, we must realise that these sellers are Professional Criminals, with handwritten lists being taken from them showing the names of streets / houses with a one, two or three star rating clearly showing those homes where they have more chance of success. Many will use a charm approach and enter the phase of grooming their victims ready for their next visit. Sadly, once you are on their list, you run the risk of continual visits from the Nottingham Knockers or their burglar friends as the list will be sold on and on.
The message: DON’T DEAL WITH COLD CALLERS
- Do Not deal with Nottingham Knockers.
- NEVER allow Nottingham Knockers into your home.
- Do Not pay CASH on the doorstep.
Be aware of Nottingham Knockers 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 Nottingham Knockers 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.