Residents warned to take extra care after suspicious visits

By JANE NICHOLL

Regina Road flats: three men obtained access to all three blocks and behaved suspiciously and aggressively, residents have said

Worn down after months of indifference from the council, followed by a string of broken promises, residents in Regina Road are now being subjected to aggressive cold-calling tactics by suspected scammers posing as surveyors offering building repairs services, potentially seeking to exploit the vulnerable.

One of the group of three men wore a purple-coloured lanyard, as if he was a member of Croydon Council staff.

The unwanted visits have been reported to the police.

There is, though, no suitable CCTV footage available to assist with any enquiries: Croydon’s cash-strapped council has never installed cameras at the entrances to the three blocks (though they did put in a camera to cover the car park, to ensure there was no illegal parking).

At least 20 residents across the three blocks reported receiving what have been described as “menacing visits” yesterday, with persistent knocking on their doors and their letterboxes being opened to see if anyone was in.

A group of three men were calling from flat to flat in the blocks on Regina Road. These are the same blocks which, earlier this year, were exposed in television news reports as suffering from “appalling” conditions, including widespread damp and mould.

This week, one of the unwanted visitors told one resident that he was from council. Others various claimed to be solicitors or a chartered surveyor.

One left a business card from “PLG Chartered Building Surveyors” with the name Stephen Gally on it.

The card described him as “A Housing Disrepair-Assessor”, and included a mobile number.

Calling card: none of the details on this card, left by ‘Mr Gally’ check out

A simple Google check for the company found no websites for such a business in existence.

When a company of similar name, in Croydon, was contacted by one of the residents, they were told they have had nothing to with Regina Road and that they do not have a Stephen Gally working for them.

The mobile number on the card also proved to be false.

The men gave a variety of versions of who there were and what they were doing.

“First they said they were residents. Then, when pressed further, they said they were from a solicitors… I asked from where, and once again they mumbled a name which I didn’t catch either time,” one resident, their suspicions aroused, said.

Another said, “This guy banged on the door – all dark clothing, big beard, Asian.  I looked through the spyhole and he nodded to a guy on the stairwell (taller than the guy at my door, white) and he began to knock on the far side.”

A third resident said, “I had a knock today from a guy with a beard, said he was coming from Tenants Care on behalf of some solicitors. He asked about mould and leaks.He made an attempt to assure me that they would be advocating for the residents of the blocks.”

One resident who received an approach did allow the men inside their home, although they never showed him any proof of identity. “They knocked on my door with a surveyor and asked to come inside. He said he lived in the block and that he was checking about the mould leaks and I told him I had one in the bathroom. So I showed him and he left with the surveyor.”

Rebecca Williams, from the Regina Road Residents’ Support Group, said, “The matter has been reported to the police and to Croydon Council. We are awaiting a further response and action to safeguard the residents.”

And Williams asked all residents to exercise great care and to pass the information on to their neighbours. “Can all residents from the three Regina Road blocks please be extra vigilant in opening their doors to anyone without an ID badge that they recognise.

“Over the last seven months we have become used to various people knocking on our doors, most of them legit with ID badges. But please, for your own safety, do not open the door to anyone you’re not expecting, and if they’re banging on your door and peering through your letterbox, please report it immediately.”

Read more: Regina Road residents shiver as they face £2,000 heating bills
Read more: Investigation into housing scandal finds systemic failure and incompetence
Read more: Croydon shamed over ‘dangerous squalor’ in council flats


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1 Response to Residents warned to take extra care after suspicious visits

  1. moyagordon says:

    The other night BBC London news covered a similar council housing block in Tower Hamlets called Charles Dickens House, which has leaks and mould in many of the flats.

    I hope Croydon’s new mayor makes sorting out the poor state of council houses a priority. I can’t understand why council staff can’t work out a system so that there is one council worker given responsibility to oversee an allocated number of council houses/flats and they meet residents regularly in person. If things don’t get sorted then that person is held responsible. At the moment it sounds like residents are passed from pillar to post or ignored, and no one is held responsible. Children are living in these conditions, so the council are in effect harming children by not ensuring their council housing is fit to live in. Truly shocking.

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