John Bolan is nobody’s fool.
That’s what comes with 93 years experience of life and the world.
So when a salesman came calling at John’s home in Orrell, he immediately knew something just wasn’t right.
And thanks to following the right advice from Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team the great grandfather could have saved himself and his neighbours a lot of grief and heartache.
John, who lives in a Wigan and Leigh Housing sheltered accommodation scheme, was called to the door recently.
“There was a man at the door with a bag under his arm,” explains John. “I never open the door fully to anyone I do not know so I put the chain on and opened a bit and asked what he wanted.”
John proudly displays a Wigan Council sign in his front window urging cold callers not to bother knocking but the stranger ignored it and called anyway.
“He said he was selling things but I told him I wasn’t interested and sent him on his way,” added John.
But that wasn’t enough for the community-minded former bakery owner because he decided to keep watching the man as he called at other homes.
“I saw him knock at a door further down and the lady opened the door fully to him,” says John. “I know you are not supposed to do that and I became very worried about what may happen. It seems to be that every day you read in the paper about people who have been duped into letting someone in and then they’ve had hundreds of pounds stolen. I didn’t want to see that happen to anyone.”
Ever alert, John keeps a list of useful numbers close to the phone and one quick call later the Orrell community police officers were aware of what was going on.
The ‘salesman’ was picked up close to John’s home and detained by police.
It later transpired that he’d been doing the rounds in the community and more people had become suspicious of his behaviour. He had asked one woman for a drink of water and another resident if they lived alone.
Wigan’s Chief Trading Standards Officer Julie Middlehurst says:
“John did all the right things and we’d like to congratulate him on his quick thinking and concern for others.
“From keeping the chain on his door through to calling the police he followed our advice to the letter and it was thanks to him that this person was detained.
“Sadly bogus callers and distraction burglars tend to target older and vulnerable people but if everyone followed John’s example there’d be a lot less of them around.”
The advice from Trading Standards is clear: Say NO to doorstep callers.
“A reputable company or organisation will not mind making an appointment to return at a later time to think or when someone else can be there with you,” says Julie. “Never take the chain off the door and do not be afraid to call the police or trading standards if you think they are suspicious.”
Wigan and Leigh Housing Chief Executive Ashley Crumbley added:
“Wigan and Leigh Housing work closely with the Police and others. Copies of the Trading Standards advice is available from our Area Housing Offices and is being distributed through your Area Housing Forums, Tenants Associations and street reps".