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Community Safety Partnership News:

Heat Wave Security Reminder

June 2017

Let's all enjoy the warmer weather we seem to be having at last, however please remember that open windows and doors can prove too much of a temptation for burglars who may see your home as 'easy pickings'.  Crime rates for burglaries do tend to increase when the temperature rises so stay cool but security conscious.  

If you are upstairs for any length of time, then don't leave the front or back doors open downstairs or any large windows - especially at the front if you are in the back garden for instance.  At night, for ventilation, leave open smaller windows that cannot be opened far enough for a person to climb through.  Keep valuables out of easy view where possible and ensure you lock up and close all accessible windows and doors when you go out - even if it's just for a short while.

'Unauthorised Bank Transaction' Scam

June 2017

Several residents in Dartford have reported receiving a call from a male saying he is a police constable 'PC...' and there has been an unauthorised transaction on the recipient's bank account. He tells them that they must go to their bank and withdraw all cash from their account and an 'officer' will come to their home to collect it and take it to be 'checked'.

Luckily most residents who were called became suspicious and hung up the phone, however in one case the woman had already gone to her bank to withdraw all her cash and it was only due to a vigilant bank clerk whose suspicions were raised that the cash withdrawal was stopped.

Do not be tempted to hand over cash or credit/debit cards to any 'officer' who calls you by telephone or knocks at your door - no bank or police officer would do this for any reason -  If in doubt, don't

Smishing: mobile SMS phishing

June 2017

Smishing - the term used for SMS phishing - is an activity which enables criminals to steal victims' money or identity, or both, as a result of a response to a text message.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received information that fraudsters are targeting victims via text message purporting to be from their credit card provider, stating a transaction has been approved on their credit card and asks them to confirm whether or not the transaction is genuine by replying Y for Yes and N for No.

Through this method the fraudster would receive confirmation of the victim's active telephone number and would be able to engage further by asking for the victim's credit card details, CVV number (the 3 digit security number on the back of your bank card) and other personal information.

Protect yourself - always check the validity of a text message by contacting your credit card provider by the number on the back of the card or by your statement.  Beware of cold calls purporting to be from your bank or credit card provider. If you are suspicious of the call or caller, hang up and wait 10 minutes before calling your bank/credit card provider direct on usual numbers.

If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to  http://www.actionfraud.police.uk

Or alternatively call 0300 123 2040

Deliberate Fires on Dartford Heath

May 2017

Firefighters were recently called to 2 separate fires on Dartford Heath which were believed to have been started deliberately.  Kent Fire & Rescue Service are appealing for the help of the community in stamping out deliberate fire setting such as this.

Dartford Watch Manager, Vince Lewis, Said, "Help us do our job which is to protect the community.  If you see anyone starting fires deliberately, please call 999 immediately.  Setting fire to grass, bushes and rubbish is dangerous.  These types of fires can quickly take hold and develop into larger fires putting the environment, property and lives at risk."

Anyone with information on suspected arsonists - no matter how small the incident may be - is urged to either contact Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

Ticket Event Scam

March 2017

Reports have been received that criminals are using social media sites to advertise tickets for entertainment or sporting events at discounted prices. The scammers create fake websites and social media accounts to trick people into buying tickets they will never receive.

Some victims paid by bank transfer and only found out they had been scammed when their tickets didn't arrive.

When looking for tickets for your favourite band, team or stand up comic, do your research and look at the event's official website and the name of their official ticket supplier. 

Don't respond to unsolicited messages offering bargain tickets.

Look for the padlock symbol in the address bar and make sure the website address begins with 'https'.

Dyno-Rod Cold Caller Scam

February 2017

Please make neighbours and relatives aware of doorstep callers posing as Dyno-Rod claiming that local work has been carried out and that they need to check your water pressure.  This is false and an attempt to gain access to a person's property and steal money or items of value while they are distracted.

Always ask for ID and check it carefully. If in doubt, shut your door while you call the company direct.

HMRC Tax refund: text scam

February 2017

Please be aware that texts have been coming through with the wording:

"Your P60 refund of 265.84GBP is pending to proceed.  Please follow our secure link below, your bank may require extra verification."

The Tap to Link which then takes you to a web page address starting gov.

You are then asked to populate a broad-reaching questionnaire which includes details of your bank account, sort code, 3 digit secure PIN, mother's maiden name,date of birth etc. to enable to scammer to steal your identity and defraud you of your money. Do not open the link - delete the text immediately

HMRC have been informed of this scam

"Migrant Helpline" Scam

January 2017

Criminals are using a genuine charity "Migrant Helpline" to send scam emails that contain banking malware whereby if you click on the link, a well-known Trojan (Ramnit) will be downloaded to your device and once activated, will steal personal and business banking information.

If you receive this email delete it immediately.  Check your antivirus software is running and up to date and contact your bank without delay if you think your bank details have been taken. It should be noted this fraud is in no way related to the real charity.

The email is headed "Thank you for choosing to donate to Migrant Helpline" and content looks like this

Thanks again for donating

We're sending it straight to Migrant Helpline so you'll be making a difference very soon.

Your donation details:

First name: ****

Last name: ****

Tel. ********

Amount: £196

Donation Reference: 09493495

If you have any questions about your donation, please follow this link and download Your (Donation Reference 09493495), with the transaction details listed above. 

With your help, YeshivaDonations can continue to work in Syria and neighbouring countries to deliver clean water and life-saving supplies to millions of people.

Your generosity is bringing much-needed assistance to families who have lost everything as a result of the crisis in Syria.

Warm regards,

YeshivaDonation

** The first name, last name and telephone number are targeted and appear to be correct for those they are sent to

Protect Your Computer - If you have been affected by this or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Spoof Amazon Emails

January 2017

Action Fraud has received several reports from victims who have been sent convincing looking emails claiming to be from Amazon.  The spoof emails from " service@amazon.co.uk " claim recipients have made an order online and mimic an automated customer email notification for an expensive item, such as a luxury watch, iphone or Bose speakers and state that should the recipient not have authorised this transaction, they can click on the help centre link to receive a full refund. 

Do not click on the link as you then will be asked for personal information and bank account details.

Look carefully at any emails you receive for typos or grammatical errors, forged or spoofed email addresses and attachments or prompts to install software onto your computer. 

ATM Awareness

January 2017

Officers are reminding people to take extra care when using cash machines to avoid becoming victims of fraud.

Police in Dartford received a report that two suspicious devices had been placed inside ATMs in the Town Centre towards the end of December 2016.  Such devices block the card slot and give the victim the impression that their card has been 'swallowed' by the machine but in fact, once they have left, the fraudster can return to the ATM, remove the device and steal the card.

Sometimes the person that has tampered with the device will appear to offer to help the victim, watching while they retype their PIN which then later leaves them free to help themselves to money that does not belong to them.

When withdrawing cash, please look out for anything unusual about the ATM such as screens that are misaligned or blurry, be aware of anyone acting suspiciously around them and make sure you shield the keypad while putting in your PIN.

Lloyds Bank letter Scam

December 2016

Scam letters claiming to be from Lloyds Bank are being sent to customers telling them there has been some unusual transactions on their personal account and asking then to call a telephone number to confirm their identity. However when the victim calls the number, an automated welcome message is played and the caller is asked to enter their card number, account number and sort code followed by their date of birth.

Advice is do not call the number provided or disclose any personal details.  If you are unsure whether any contact from your bank is genuine, call the bank direct yourself.

'Plain clothes' Police scam

December 2016

Reports are being received of a scam being carried out locally that involves 2 male cold callers claiming to be 'plain clothes' Police Officers who inform elderly residents that they have been a victim of fraud and in order to rectify this, they must hand over their bank cards and/or cash for checking.  These 'Officers' have sometimes waited for the victim to go in person to withdraw the cash from their bank, before handing it over to the scammers.  It has only sometimes been the vigilance of bank employees who have questioned and subsequently blocked the unusual withdrawals that has stopped the scammers in their tracks. 

Remember you do not have to answer the door to a cold caller if you do not recognise them or are not expecting a visitor.  Always ask for ID and if in doubt, keep them out.

Three Online Email Scams

December 2016

Recent Purchase or Service  - customer receives scam email after having work carried out to their home or purchasing goods.  The email does not come from the trader but a third party trying to intercept payment to the trader. The sender asks the customer for their bank details in order to scam them out of money.

Speeding Fine - person receives scam speeding fine email that may request personal and financial information or attempt to infect the person's computer with malware. 

Delivery of purchase - customer receives an email that provides an order receipt number and item description, in this case an Apple watch.  The sender then states the recipient is required to provide details so the order can be delivered or processed and an invoice number given and asks,  'If you wish to cancel the order, click on the link.'

Do not click on any link if you do not know the source or recognise the sender/company.  A legitimate company will not require information before a delivery can be made. Do not disclose any personal or financial information to a third party.  Delete the email.

Witness to Court Scam

November 2016

There is a scam email circulating that claims to be from CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) and states you have been witness summoned to court to produce documents. It gives the court location and there is a link button taking you to a 'Start Time and Case Details' which if you click on it will lead to malware (viruses) so do not click on the link   Delete the email

The CPS is aware of this scam and would never email witnesses in order to summons them to court.

Barclays Text Scam

October 2016

There are reports being made of scam texts purporting to be from Barclays.  The text informs the customer that there have been suspicious transactions carried out in relation to their debit card and asks them to contact Barclays.

Do not reply to the text or call the number given as this may result in you being scammed further or being charged for a premium rate call.

Barclays Fraud Team has confirmed that this is a scam and asks customers affected to report it to them as soon as possible on 0800 151 0900

Phishing Email

September 2016

An email is being circulated claiming to be from City of London Police representing the 'Fraud Intelligence Unit' and the 'National Fraud Intelligence Bureau'.  It is usually titled 'Compensation Fund' and has a letter attachment that claims to be offering financial compensation to victims of fraud. It uses the City of London Police logo.

The letter states that in order for compensation to be arranged, the receiver of the email should reply disclosing personal information.  It states that HSBC and the South African Reserve Bank have been chosen to handle the compensation claims. 

All of these claims are false: the email and letter are fraudulent and should not be responded to so if you believe you have become a victim of this fraudulent email, get your device checked by a professional and report it to Action Fraud, the UK's national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Beware Fraudulent Gas Bills

August 2016

There have been fake British Gas utility bill emails sent out by fraudsters that are linked to a virus that takes over your computer.  They are designed to look like a seemingly harmless utility bill are titled "Your Summer Gas & Electricity Bill" and has a link that sends you to a website where you are advised to download a file in order to view the bill. 

DO NOT DOWNLOAD THE FILE

This is the virus and will lock you out of your computer and you to a payment page. Please be aware and advise colleagues and neighbours.  British Gas say that their emails will always be personalised and often quote your British Gas account number and will only provide links back to www.britishgas.co.uk/

For further information click on the link www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/fake-british-gas-utility-bills-link-to-malware-aug16

False Claims by Solar Panel Salesmen

August 2016

Homeowners with solar panels are being contacted by salesmen making false claims about their existing solar panels:

False Claim 1 

Salesmen are encouraging homeowners to replace their existing solar panels claiming fire crews will not attend a fire involving older solar panels. This is false. The Fire Service will always attend a fire no matter the cause.

False Claim 2

Salesmen are offering free health checks on Solar PV installations in conjunction with the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme (MCS) which is an industry-led nationally recognised quality assurance scheme. This is false. MCS has not partnered with any installation or maintenance company and does not carry out health checks or maintenance.

For more information visit the MCS website

www.microgenerationcertification.org

Scam Alert: Fraud of Pensioners

June 2016

Over the past 2 days, Kent Police have received 5 reports of elderly Dartford residents being the victims of scam attempts. The scammer telephones them, claiming to be from Her Majesty's revenue and Customs (HMRC). The  victim is told that they owe an outstanding sum of money from previous tax years that they are required to pay immediately. One lady was told she could pay by purchasing iTunes vouchers to the sum of £3000. It was only when this large sum was queried by staff in W H Smith that the scam was stopped.  Others have not been so fortunate.

A different scam reported has been delivered via computer tablet.  In this case, a screen appears stating the tablet has been blocked and is currently being scanned by police.  However this is not the case. The screen looks authentic and the message states that the user is required to download an app onto their mobile phone which will allow them to purchase a Pay Safe voucher for the sum of £100 and their tablet will be unblocked upon receipt of this voucher. But the computer tablet does not get fixed.

Both forms of voucher are authentic forms of payment but the once the individual identity codes have been disclosed to the scammer as requested, they are no longer valid or worth anything to the owner and the scammer goes on to use the codes to spend the sums of money.

If you are not sure about any request for money being made over the internet or on the telephone, don't give any details away and please report it to Kent County Council Trading Standards or call Citizen Advice Consumer Service on 0345 0405 06.

Additionally, if you have elderly relatives, friends or neighbours who you think may be vulnerable to this type of crime, please take the time to talk to them about it and make sure they are aware.

Child Car Seat Clinic

June 2016

KCC's Road Safety Team will be holding child car seat clinics where they will offer free advice on whether child seats are being fitted correctly and are the correct size for your child.

ASDA Crossways, Greenhithe on Tuesday 12 July 2016  9.45am - 1pm

Sainsbury's, Pepper Hill on Tuesday 19 July 2016 9.45am - 1pm

The team will be handing out free booklets near the mother and baby parking spaces at each location and will be identifiable as they will be wearing hi-vis clothing and carrying KCC Identity Cards.

Jewellery for Fuel scam

April 2016

There have been several reports of a scam whereby a male in a Silver VW Passat is stopped at the side of the road and is flagging down drivers saying he has run out of fuel and has no money so asks for up to £100 in cash from them to get some fuel.  He offers what appears to be an expensive watch in exchange and gives the driver his business card and promises to return the cash when called.   However the watch is fake and so is the business card and the unsuspecting driver is left out of pocket.  Don't let that person be you.

Doorstep Sellers

April 2016

There have been reports of cold callers offering to clean patios stating to the resident that other neighbours in the street recommended them but they demanded the inflated price of £500 from one resident.  There are 3 males and they drive a Mitsubishi Shogun. The first male is white with tanned skin, mid 20s wearing jeans and boots, the second has dark hair, side burns and stubble, the third  has a heavy build and strawberry blond hair - all wear hi-vis jackets. 

Report Rogue Traders

April 2016

Rogue traders charm and lie.  They tell us our roof tiles are loose, our chimney stacks are dangerous, our trees are diseased and our driveways need jet washing.  They don't want to do a good job; they just want your money!

Keep your community safe. report rogue traders as soon as possible by calling Citizens Advice Consumer Services on 03454 04 05 06

If you feel threatened or afraid dial 999 or for non-urgent calls dial 101

Illegal Tobacco, why should you care?

April 2016

Illegal tobacco is usually fake products, smuggled genuine products or brands made for the illegal tobacco market.

The sale of illegal tobacco is a serious, organised crime. Suppliers of illegal tobacco are often linked to drug dealing, people trafficking and even terrorism.

Don't let illegal tobacco into your community.  If you see anyone selling illegal tobacco from under the counter or elsewhere, report it by calling the Illegal Tobacco Hotline 0300 999 0000 (24hr)

Police Mag Scam

March 2016

Kent Police has been made aware of a scam whereby the caller claims to be from the police force and advises businesses they can pay for advertising in a police magazine.  This is not a service offered by Kent Police.

If you think you may be a victim of a scam call such as this call 101 - the police non-emergency number or report it to KCC Trading Standards.

Cold Caller Warning

March 2016

Residents across Dartford and Gravesham have been receiving a small square leaflet through their letterbox offering to fix and clean guttering and carry out roofing repairs while they are 'in the area'.   The price suggested on the flyer is low, however these scammers shamelessly persuaded an elderly couple to part with £600 to clean their guttering.

Please be extra careful when considering using any services being offered via cold calling or leafleting through your letterbox.

New Waste Powers for Local Authorities

March 2016

The Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016 will come into force on 9 May 2016. This will empower local authorities to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for offences of illegal deposit of waste. Until now local authorities were only empowered to issues FPNs for littering under these circumstances.

From 9 May 2016 an FPN for Unauthorised Deposit of Waste will be set at a minimum of £150 up to a maximum of £400 - the exact figure to be decided upon by each local authority - the default amount being £200. Should the offender not pay the FPN for Unauthorised Deposit of Waste, they will be summonsed to Magistrates Court and face the very real likelihood of being given a criminal conviction. 

This sends out a strong message that persons must ensure they deposit their waste responsibly at the correct facility be that at their Local Authority civil amenity site or in the appropriate recycling receptacle.

Accident Scam Call Alert

March 2016

Reports have been received that residents in Dartford have received a call purporting to be from Dartford Borough Council asking if they have been involved in an accident.  The number appears to be foreign - 0320 0150010 - so should alert suspicion. Another number quoted is 0208 950 0000.

These calls have no connection whatsoever to Dartford Borough Council so please be vigilant and not give out personal details on the phone or allow anyone to come to your home unless you are sure of their identity.

Energy Performance Cert Scam

March 2016

Kent residents are reporting being called and told they will need an Energy Performance Certificate from April 2016. The scammer says they can send someone that day to carry out the survey.

You only need an Energy Performance certificate if you are selling or renting out your property.  Do not give out personal details on the phone or allow anyone to come to your home unless you are sure of their identity.

Good Citizen Award Scheme

March 2016

Action Fraud has been receiving reports of an advanced fee fraud whereby members of the public are cold called by someone claiming to be calling on behalf of the UK (for British) Government Grant Department.

The say the individual has won a Good Citizen Award of typically £8,000 and that the grant can be released for a fee of around £210.  Fortunately very few members of the public have lost any money as a result of this scam but have reported it to Action Fraud to protect others from falling victim to it.

There is no genuine Good Citizen Award scheme in the UK that operates by cold calling 'winners' asking for an up front fee to release a grant.  If you receive a call from someone claiming to represent such a scheme, end the call. Do not give out any personal of financial details.

Cold Callers Alert

February 2016 

We have received a report that 3 young males in their 20's have recently been cold calling residents in Dartford Borough offering to 'power clean' their driveway for as much as £150.  They are driving a white van with similar wording emblazoned on the side. It is possible they could be targeting elderly residents and have been described as 'not keen to take no for an answer'. 

So please take care when considering any service offered at your doorstep that you have not expressly requested and please remind neighbours, especially those living alone, to chain and check who's at their door before they open it.

Scam Alert: Blue Badge

January 2016 

Reports have been received that a bogus Blue Badge website is offering to provide a Blue Badge for £49 when they do not have authority to issue one. In addition they are asking for personal details

An official Blue Badge costs £10 and can be applied for or renewed by going to the official Kent County Council website or you can contact KCC's Blue Badge Team on 03000 416262 or via our Online Contact us form

Scam Alert: Opt-Out Scheme

January 2016 

Reports have been received that scam phone calls are being made and scam letters being sent claiming to be from BT telecommunications service offering the recipient an opt-out of scam telephone calls for an upfront fee of £300. They gain the resident's confidence by quoting the last four digits of their credit card and asking for the remaining digits to complete the transaction.  This is a bogus offer.

If you wish to reduce unsolicited sales and marketing calls, contact the Telephone Preference Service` 

MP visits Swanscombe CAP

15 October 2015 

On Friday 9 October 2015 the MP for Dartford Gareth Johnson attended the offices of Swanscombe & Greenhithe Town Council to gain an understanding of the Community Alcohol Partnership that has been set up in the local area.

The CAP recognises the role local retailers, licensees and stakeholders can play in tackling underage drinking in their community and is believed to be a major contributing factor in a substantial decrease in antisocial behaviour and reports of under 18s drinking in public.

The MP met with the Mayor of Swanscombe & Greenhithe, Trading Standards, local Neighbourhood Police, Dartford Community Safety Unit Licensing Enforcement and the CAP Project Officer. He was then taken along to see the CAP project in action at the local Co-Op store.

All agreed it was an informative visit that would help raise the profile of a very worthwhile local community project.

8 Things your bank would never ask you

28 September 2015

Scammers rely on their victims not being fully aware of what personal details their bank would ask them to provide, so here are 8 things that your bank would never ask but the fraudsters would: 

1 - Call or email to ask you for your full PIN or any online banking passwords

2 - Send someone to collect cash, bank cards or anything else for that matter 

3 - Ask you to email or text personal or banking information 

4 - Send an email with a link to a page which asks you to enter your online banking log-in details 

5 - Ask you to authorise the transfer of funds to a new account or hand over cash

6 - Call to advise you to buy diamonds, land or other commodities 

7 - Ask you to carry out a test transaction online 

8 - Provide banking services through any mobile apps other than the official bank apps 

If you are not sure, don't give any details away and if you think you have received a telephone scam please report it to KCC Trading Standards or call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 

Scam Alert

8 September 2015 

Two cold call scams have recently been reported as occurring in the local area and target the elderly or vulnerable.

The first is a cold caller at the door telling the resident he and his associate are from the Water Board and there is a leak in the area and they need help to fix it, then asking the resident to fill bowls and pans with water from the kitchen tap. Whilst the resident is distracted, the house is being ransacked and cash stolen.

The second is a cold caller at the door saying essential work is required to the resident's property and he and his associate can carry out the repair with the use of a hire tool which will incur an initial cost. They then ask the resident to provide money up front for the hire tool/s which they take and leave never to return. 

Licenced Premise Review

17 July 2015 

Two licenced premises in Dartford recently had their licences reviewed by the Licensing Sub Committee due to large amounts of non-duty paid alcohol being found on their premises during a joint operation with HMRC.

As a result, both premises were given additional stringent conditions to their licences.

These operations serve a very important part of partnership working in order to protect members of the public from potentially harmful and illegal alcoholic beverages. 

Scam Tree Service 

6 July 2015

Two males going under the name Oaklands Tree and Garden Services are currently operating in the Dartford area and are over charging for work. They seem to be targeting vulnerable residents.

An elderly male called the number on the flyer that came through his door and agreed to pay the men £100 to carry out work on his front and back garden.  They strimmed the lawns and left saying they would be back to collect further money from him and if he refused to pay they would dump all of the rubbish in his front garden.  They originally asked for a further £1000.  Sensibly he passed this information on to police.

The males are described as white, one was tall with dark hair and an accent, the other male was short and overweight. 

The flyer carried the details: Oaklands Tree and Garden services 07795 4224213/ 07884 450486 

Distraction Burglary

12 May 2015 

There have been a number of distraction burglaries carried out recently in Kent whereby 2 suspects, claiming to be from the Water Board, say they need to locate the stopcock and ask that the householder let them in to the property to do so.

Distraction burglary/artifice is where the offender/s try to trick, dupe or distract the householder, allowing the other person they are working with to gain access to the property to steal cash or items.  The elderly can be particularly vulnerable to this type of burglary. 

Be vigilant. Be cautious.  Representatives from water, gas or electric companies rarely visit without a prior appointment and must present identification on request, if you are unsure, do not open the door.

If in doubt, keep them out!

Licensing Op

31 March 2015 

A recent multi-agency operation, relating to non-duty paid/illegal tobacco and cigarette sale in premises in Dartford, carried out visits and inspected a large number of premises and seizures were made of the goods mentioned.

Traders selling these illegal items are putting other honest traders at a serious disadvantage by undercutting their sales. These operations attempt not only to recover lost revenue to the government but also to ensure all traders work fairly and within the law.

Swale Heating Scam

17 March 2015 

Several tenants from Dartford Borough Council properties have recently received calls from a male claiming to be from Swale Heating saying the company is carrying out boiler repairs on behalf of Dartford Borough Council.  He then attempts to book an appointment for the following afternoon.

Whist Swale Heating is a genuine company, it does not currently have a contract to carry out work for DBC and confirms there is no reason why a genuine employee of Swale Heating would be making contact in this way.

Criminals wanting to gain access to properties will pose as builders, maintenance or utilities staff and say the work is urgent so you may allow them in quickly without checking their identity.  Dartford Borough Council will always notify you before they visit and carry identification.

If in doubt, do not give personal information out over the phone or let someone in to your home unless you are certain they are who they say are.  A legitimate company and its staff will understand and allow you to make any necessary checks. 

Licensed Premises Inspection

26 February 2015 

Licensing Enforcement Officers from Dartford Community Safety Unit together with Officers from the local Neighbourhood Police Team recently undertook joint inspections of 7 licensed premises in the local areas of Temple Hill and New Town.

From these inspections, 2 premises were found to be in order, 4 were given formal advice relating to the training of staff in the use of CCTV and the maintenance of the Refusals Book and one premise received a formal Advisory Letter, copies of which will be sent to Kent Police and Trading Standards for monitoring purposes.

Visits such as these are recorded on an internal database to ensure follow up inspections are carried out where necessary and that Licensed premises in Dartford Borough are compliant with the Licensing Act 2003.  

Multi-Agency Op Update

3 February 2015 

In connection with recent KCAP (Kent Community Alcohol Partnership) action in Swanscombe aimed at reducing alcohol-related antisocial behaviour, a joint Operation took place involving Enforcement Officers and local Neighbourhood Police based at Dartford Community Safety Unit working alongside Enforcement Officers from Trading Standards looking for sales of illegal goods. 

Based on information gained, a number of search warrants instituted by Trading Standards were executed at premises in Dartford Town and in Swanscombe.

At Dartford, in a premises on East Hill, a large quantity of non-duty paid tobacco was found and seized and in the premises in Swanscombe High Street - the former Post Office - another quantity of non-duty paid tobacco was found and also seized by Trading Standards.

Computer Virus Scam

30 January 2015 

There have been recent reports to Kent Police about an Indian sounding male who has been cold calling residents telling them their computer has a virus and that he can fix it for them for a fee. Fortunately nobody has allowed access to their home or their computer for this to occur, having been rightly suspicious of giving a stranger access to their personal details.

Further reports have been made regarding rogue traders knocking on doors of elderly residents saying they require cash payment for work they have completed on the homeowner's roof when no work has been done.

If rogue traders call at your home uninvited and unannounced saying your roof or chimney needs fixing or replacing, you are not obliged to agree to have any work done or to pay for work you have not previous arranged. 

Use a door chain when answering the door and encourage elderly relatives or neighbours to do the same.  If you are not expecting a visitor, you do not have to answer the door at all.  Check ID cards of all visitors and if in doubt call police on 101 

KCC Trading Standards only recommend one trader scheme in Kent which is run in partnership with Checkatrade. <32> Elderly Target for Fraud

13 January 2015 

A scam caller has been reported as targeting an elderly person and offering them £1000 worth of vouchers in return for £120 in cash.  Luckily staff at the Post Office, where the gentleman attempted to withdraw the cash, became suspicious and stopped the transaction going ahead.

A home protection company (providing external textured wall coating) has been reported as cold calling local elderly residents during the evening and allegedly pressure selling their product which has left residents feeling anxious and confused.

Please be vigilant when receiving calls or home visits from cold callers and do not reveal personal details unless you are sure you know who is asking and why.  Please remind elderly relatives and neighbours to be careful about who they share information with.  If in doubt- don't.

Pharmacy Scam

17 December 2014 

Patients from a practice in Aylesford near Maidstone have reported being called by someone claiming to be from a local pharmacy, offering to deliver medication to their home address and then requesting bank details for payment of this service.  The caller claims that the GP practice is recommending the service which is not the case.

Local pharmacies offering a service such as this do not charge for collection or delivery and patients are being reminded not to part with their bank details unless they are fully certain of the source of the request. If in doubt hang up and call the surgery or pharmacy direct.  

Scam information - Council Tax

Dartford Borough Council and Sevenoaks District Council have both received calls from concerned customers saying they have been contacted by an individual purporting to be 'from the Council' or from a company called Claims Direct, advising them that their Council Tax band has been reduced and they are due a refund.  They were then asked for their bank details to refund the overpayment but instead large sums of money were withdrawn from their bank account.

All customers that have been reported as being contacted so far have been elderly. 

On some occasions, these scammers have cold called customers claiming the same thing and tried to scam them out of money.

Please remember a Council employee would have ID and be able to produce it on demand.  If in doubt don't invite them in and call your local Council to check the validity of such a claim.

In no circumstances should residents impart their bank details to someone on the doorstep or on the telephone.  Report any concerns you have to your local Council, Kent Police or Trading Standards.

Roofing - Rogue Traders

KCC Trading Standards is warning homeowners to watch our for rogue traders operating in the Kent area at the moment.  They are knocking on doors claiming to have done work of your roof in the past and that they have returned to check up on the work.

Remember you do not have to accept work from a cold caller, even if they claim to have done work to your property before.  Always check out any callers - don't take things at face value, an authentic trader will not mind you checking their identity with a third party.

If you wish to report a similar visit, then:

Go online to www.kent.gov.uk/tradingstandards

SMS: text ROGUE followed by a space then the details to 07860 008025

Citizens Advice Bureau: call 03454 040506 Mon - Fri 9am to 5pm

Scam Warning

30 September 2014

There is a scam that has emerged whereby the caller states they are from Virgin Media and that there is a problem with your line and that they have to get access to your computer to fix it.  Once access is given then they can corrupt or steal data from your computer files.

Virgin Media have been contacted and stress they do not under any circumstances make calls such as these.

So please do not become a victim of the scammers, keep your information safe.   

Cold Call Painters

23 September 2014

Reports have been passed to local Community Wardens that an elderly resident in Greenhithe and another in the Dartford area have both recently been the target of cold callers offering to paint their windows for an inflated cash fee.  After a substandard job on the windows, the callers have also suggested the roof needs repair work and so on.  Sometimes the money has been collected before any work has been carried out.

The scammers are described as two adult males, with a third younger person, travelling in a small white van.

Please remember to check the identity of all callers and don't be persuaded to take services you do not require.  If a trader is genuine, they will be happy to come back at a later date to allow you to make necessary checks and to take time to decide. 

Rogue Trader targets Stansted area with leftover asphalt

A man has been seen knocking on doors in the Stansted area offering to supply left over asphalt known as 'planings'.  The man claims the material is from jobs being carried out in the area by 'council roads'.  He was seen wearing a yellow jacket and driving a silver car. 

'Plainings' are commonly used as hard core for temporary road repairs. Contractors working for KCC Highways do not knock on doors trying to sell things.

Telephone call results in home visit from Energy Company

A resident has contacted KCC Trading Standards about a telephone call they received from a company offering air to air heating.  Following the call, the resident received a visit from the company saying the product would reduce their gas bills. The cost to install the system would be around £7000. 

The advice from The Energy Saving Trust is that this system may not be the best option for homes using mains gas.  Always make your own enquiries about the suitability of a product and remember you do not have to agree to the work being offered.

Be Vigilant at Cash Machines

February 17, 2014

Police are reminding the public to stay vigilant, when withdrawing cash from an ATM, after money was snatched from a woman in Tonbridge.  It was reported that £40 was grabbed from the woman's hands by a man who then ran off in the direction of Castle Street, Tonbridge.

Please take sensible precautions when using a cash machine:
- Put your money and card away safely before leaving the ATM
- Take care not to let anyone see your PIN by shielding it
- Don't get distracted at the ATM: a thief may try to divert your attention whilst an accomplice steals your money or your card
- Always check the machine for anything unusual prior to using it: ensure nothing has been placed on it or in front of the openings.

If in doubt, don't use it Report any suspicions to Kent Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

Licensing Update

On Friday 7 February 2014, Officers from Kent Police along with Licensing Officers from Dartford Borough Council took part in a joint operation focused on the prevention and detection of drug-related crime and disorder within Dartford Borough.

Numerous licensed premises were visited throughout the course of the evening and an Ion Track procedure was in place on the doors which resulted in over 100 people having their hands swabbed for controlled drugs as a condition of entry.

Passive drug dogs were also deployed and searches were conducted on 7 individuals and 1 vehicle as a result of a dog indication and 1 Penalty Notice was issued for possession of a controlled substance.

Another example of agencies working together to Keep Dartford Safe.