A national trade body is urging people in Bridport and Lyme Regis to be on guard after reports that fake pest controllers demanded cash from unsuspecting customers.

The British Pest Control Association (BPCA) is urging people to check the credentials of anyone claiming to be a pest professional using its online ‘check a pest controller’ tool, after fake operatives demanded cash without doing any work.

BPCA also warned that shoddy work carried out by unqualified traders could result in businesses being open to prosecution, while householders could see infestations grow due to incorrect treatments.

The Association’s online ‘find a pest controller’ tool directs users to BPCA members in their area, offering a free online portal to accredited pest management professionals.

To make sure you’re dealing with a professional, ask:

1. Are you part of an industry body, such as the British Pest Control Association?

2. Do you carry an ID, such as a BPCA Registered card?

3. Are all your technicians qualified to carry out the work?

4. Does your company carry the correct insurance?

5. What paperwork will you leave me with?

6. How do I stop the pest problem from happening again?

If a ‘pest controller’ is unable to answer these questions or provide the required paperwork, don’t allow them to do any ‘work’ in your home or business and ask them to leave.

Do not give money to someone you don’t trust and if in doubt, seek advice from the police, a colleague or a family member. Do not put yourself or others at risk if the situation escalates.

One way to do due diligence quickly is to find a pest controller through the BPCA’s online tool bpca.org.uk/find or check your existing contractor is a member at www.bpca.org.uk/check