Police chiefs are urging residents to ask doorstep sellers to show their ‘Pedlar’s Certificate’ before buying anything from strangers.
Derbyshire Police has issued the advice in a bid to reduce the number of people being conned by rogue traders or burgled by while they are distracted on their doorsteps.
Inspector Russell Dakin, of the Community Safety team in Chesterfield, said: “The aim is to ensure people know what to do if someone calls unexpectedly at their home, as we have had incidents in the past where residents have suffered a burglary while they have been distracted at the door.
“While we don’t want to scare people unnecessarily, we are asking people to take precautions to help prevent them from becoming a victim or from being conned out of their hard-earned cash by a rogue trader.”
It is not illegal to sell goods door to door but sellers must carry a police-issued Pedlar’s Certificate, which shows the crest of the police force where it was issued, the name of the officer that approved it and the name and details of the seller.
Insp Dakin added: “When dealing with strangers who call at your door make sure your home is as secure as possible.
“Always use a door chain and ask for identification.
“If they are selling items then ask to see their Pedlar’s Certificate. They are valid for 12 months and are issued by police in the area where the seller lives.
“This will indicate that background checks have been made on the seller, and that they are of good character.
“Remember genuine callers will not mind while you make these checks.”