LONDON—Con artists have once again been preying on London residents. Reports of con artists dressed in Sikh attire calling door to door have increased over the last few weeks with stories appearing in local newspapers in west London.
A couple from Hounslow nearly fell victim to a bizarre doorstep scam after two men, claiming to be religious, barged into their home and demanded money. The residents, both 61, were at their home in Hibernia Gardens on Thursday, July 21 at about noon, when there was a knock at the door. When the husband opened the door he found two bearded Sikhs. He said when he spoke to them they “immediately came up very close to the front door.”
“Then one of them took his shoes off and stepped into the porch, then almost pushed past me and asked me where our prayer room was.”
“I am not Sikh but Hindu, and have always been very respectful of religious people, but felt a bit annoyed that they were behaving like this.”
“The person who had pushed in was then followed by the other and they started praying in our prayer area [in the living room]. They rudely told me to take off my shoes and put my hands together as they were chanting the ‘Ardas.'”
The two men then proceeded to get out a small book and told the couple they were being put down for a £100 ‘donation’ to their mission, which they failed to describe in any detail.
He said he was ‘more angry than frightened’ about the situation, went upstairs to call a Sikh neighbour.
“I asked her if it was usual for Sikhs to do this and whether it was a special thing happening in our area,” he said. “She said ‘No this is not at all usual’ and said she would be right over.”
The Sikh neighbour started questioning the men, asking for some proof of identification. Realizing they had been found out, the con artists looked ‘distressed’ at being questioned and hurried away.
He added: “I vowed never to open the door to such people again. We will be a lot more careful from now on. I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this.”
A police spokesman said: “Don’t let anyone in to your house uninvited. If anyone barges their way in to your house, call 999 immediately. Don’t hesitate to do so.”