POLICE are advising householders to dial 999 if they are approached by cold-callers offering to repair storm damage.

The rogue trader alert has gone out in Lyme Regis and Charmouth after conmen have targeted residents following the recent severe weather.

A number of incidents were reported to Dorset Police after a man approached residents and offered to do repair work to houses and gardens.

In one of the incidents, a man approached an elderly woman in Charmouth and said he would repair her garden fence for £200.

She handed the money over and the man never returned to complete the work.

He is described as a white male in his 40s, five foot five inches tall, stocky, with black and tidy receding hair and a short black beard.

Police are now urging anyone who has been approached by a man fitting this description or any other cold callers to report it to Dorset Police.

PC Kirsti Ball said: “There were a further two incidents, another one in Charmouth and one in Morcombelake where homeowners were approached by a man offering to do work in exchange for £200 in cash.

“Even though they refused his offer and didn’t let him do any work, we think it is the same person because it sounded like he used a similar way of going about it.

“These are the ones we know about, and it could have happened to people who haven’t reported it.

“If anyone has been approached they should come forward, or if they have had work done and it is not good enough they should contact us immediately.”

Dorset Police have launched Operation Montana to target rogue traders and cold callers, and are warning people across the county to be aware of cold callers.

Insp Mike Darby, Bridport Section Commander, pictured, said: “We are very keen to prevent vulnerable people from being targeted and becoming victims of bogus tarmaccers or roofers.

“If anyone does have someone knocking at their door, they should get their details.

“Before handing over any money, they should speak to friends or relatives to make sure this is a bona fide company.

“I am not aware of any reputable companies that will come and knock on the door seeking work, so anybody doing this is likely to be bogus.

“Look in somewhere like the yellow pages to find a reputable company.”

Insp Darby also asked anyone who has a cold call to contact the police immediately.

“We would ask people, even if they have just told these people to go away, to call 999 and tell us about them,” he added.