Police are urging North-east residents to be aware of bogus callers following incidents reported in Peterhead.
Officers have been made aware of a man attending residential properties offering to sell cigarettes, taking cash for these items and then not returning with the goods.
The man is described as being about 25 years old, 5ft 10ins tall and is of slim build. He is believed to be white with curly shoulder-length brown hair.
Incidents in the School Road, Harbour Street, Copeman Avenue, Clerkhill Road, Uphill Lane, Mid Street and Catto Crescent areas have been reported.
DC Steven Young, who is investigating the reported incidents, said: “Following a number of reports of a bogus caller and sneak-in thefts in recent weeks, we believe these incidents are linked and are appealing for information from the public.
“We are also advising the community to be wary of cold callers offering to sell items and requesting payment upfront. A number of people have paid upfront for items never provided, in total it is believed a low four figure sum of cash has been fraudulently obtained or stolen as a result of sneak-in thefts between August and October 2017. Additionally, if you believe you may have been a victim to this type of fraud and haven’t reported it, police are encouraging you to do so.
“Items offered for sale in this way are often proceeds of crime or counterfeit. Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Wilma Urquhart, Trading Standards manager for Aberdeenshire, said: “Trading Standards would always advise against purchasing from doorstep callers. Tobacco retailers must now be registered so cigarettes sold on the doorstep will be illegal and are likely to be counterfeit or illegal imports. Consumers sometimes believe they will get a bargain purchasing from cold callers but as well as risking all your money if you pay upfront, there have been instances reported where consumers have been shown good quality goods which then get switched for cheaper items.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you wish to remain anonymous.