The authorities in Surrey are warning residents of an increases in doorstep crime in the county as the coronavirus 'lockdown' measures are scaled back.

Earlier today (May 28), Surrey County Council (SCC) said that cases of "doorstep fraud" had been increasing since the government announced an easing of some quarantine measures put in place to combat the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

"Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards have already seen an increase in rogue traders targeting older adults using tactics such as befriending, religious affiliation, pressure and even aggression to extort money," SCC said.

They cited the case of an Epsom resident who was reportedly conned out of almost £1,000 after just such a case recently.

"This month an Epsom resident was cold called by two males who initially offered to power wash his block paving. The initial demand of £500 escalated quickly as he was escorted to the bank to relieve him of an extra £400.

"This matter is currently being investigated by Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards," SCC described.

Other instances including a case of doorstep fraud in Redhill recently have also been reported.

Denise Turner Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities at SCC, offered a warning to residents: “Sadly, rogue traders tend to target people at this time of year when the weather is improving and with lockdown restrictions relaxing, this provides more opportunity for the criminals to dupe householders into paying for shoddy or unnecessary work.

“Doorstep fraud is a terrible crime which can have lasting ramifications for a victim and their family.

"We urge local our communities to be vigilant and to look out for their elderly and vulnerable neighbours, often it is neighbours, relatives and friends who raise the alarm," she said.

"Rogue traders are highly organised, professional offenders who have developed their skills over the years.

"It is estimated only 5 per cent of scams are reported so we would encourage everyone to not be afraid or embarrassed to report an incident and seek support," the county councillor added.