Warning about ‘left-over paint’ scam as schools targeted by fake worker

Schools in North Yorkshire are being advised to look out for a potential scam involving ‘workmen’ offering to paint parking lines or private zebra crossings.

On Thursday, a school in the Hambleton area was approached by a man purporting to work for the Highways Agency.

As part of his ruse, he said he had “left over line-painting material” and offered to touch up some parking spaces and a zebra crossing on the school premises.

After work was completed the man then demanded excessive payment for the work which was substandard.

Payment was not made and he left the premises.

The suspect is described as white-skinned but tanned, around 6ft tall and aged about 25 to 30.

He is described as having white, straight teeth and short blonde hair with the front gelled up.

He wore a brand new yellow hi-viz top without any brandings, drove a white unmarked van and had the the correct tools to undertake the work.

It has been confirmed the suspect does not work for the Highways Agency.

Two very similar incidents took place at primary schools in York on April 30.

On these occasions, the services were declined.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The ‘left-over paint’ scam is used by criminals who offer ambiguous verbal quotes for a low price and then charge inflated prices when work is completed. They may make demands for payments.

“The work is often completed to a low standard with substandard materials. A variation on the scam is to offer resurfacing work.

“While on this occasion it appears schools are being targeted, other organisations such as churches, hospitals, sports clubs and private businesses – anywhere with car parks really – need to be vigilant.”

He added: “Advice to both businesses and individuals is that if you want work done please approach established companies or individuals that you can talk to again if anything goes wrong and agree a price and contract in writing.”

Any organisation or person who has been made an offer to carry out similar line painting work should contact their local trading standards team and North Yorkshire Police.

Anyone with information about the offences in Hambleton or York should contact PC 1864 Fiona Wilding via email on Fiona.Wilding@northyorkshire.police.uk and quote reference 12240076720.