Bogus workmen warning for Ellon

AN ELLON councillor is warning local residents to beware of bogus workmen, after constituents say they have been approached by individuals pretending to be council workers offering to tar their drives.

Cllr. Rob Merson told the Times that he was recently contacted by a householder in Castle Park who complained that she had been approached by a ‘road worker’ who had offered to tar her drive with surplus tar from a job that was being done nearby.

He explained: “The householder was given the impression that he was a council employee engaged in carrying out temporary repairs on Balmoral Avenue. She rightly refused the offer, and brought the matter to my attention. Having taken up her concerns with the Principal Network Engineer, it has been established that the gentleman was not a council employee.”

The Castle Park incident comes in the wake of Aberdeenshire Council’s Trading Standards team actively warning householders earlier this year not to be taken in by bogus workmen, after a spate of incidents across the shire which saw householders charged extortionate prices for badly done jobs by unqualified, unregistered tradesmen. These individuals are often untraceable, and have recently become more sophisticated in their methods, employing a number of tactics to lure householders into believing that they are reputable local tradesmen.

Cllr Merson adde:d “I have since been informed that members of the Travelling community have made similar approaches to householders in Balvenie Place, Ellon in the earlier part of the week, and in Craigdam, Tarves towards the latter part of the week.

“While that is not illegal, I would be very concerned if householders were being given the impression that these were council workers. Council employees would not be permitted to approach residents and offer to carry out such work, and householders would be wise to refuse unsolicited offers of tarring jobs.

“My constituent reported that the workman who approached her had an Irish accent, and was wearing clothing and a hi-visibility vest of a type which made him indistinguishable from the Council operatives working in the area.”

Stuart Macfarlane, Principle Roads Engineer for Formartine, said that while the roads department does undertake private work, it was on a thoroughly professional basis, and that the bogus workmen were in no way associated with the roads department.

“Our workmen have a very specific procedure for dealing with private contracts, and they certainly don’t go touting for work,” he said.