Police are warning residents to be vigilant after reports of people going from door to door trying to sell goods and being threatening.

The people will normally inform the occupant that they have just come out of prison or on probation and they are trying to turn their lives around.

A spokesman from Essex Police said: "This is a scam. The goods they have on them are usually of an inferior quality and they may try to talk their way into your address.

"We have had reports of them being intimidating towards the elderly and vulnerable, when they don't get their own way they often revert to abuse and threats. In short these are not bonafide street traders.

"They are often referred to as 'Nottingham Knockers', from where the scam originated.

"They work in gangs, will arrive in an area on a mini bus and carry out their illegal activity in one area at a time. Both Castle Point and Rochford have both been targetted recently. There is intelligence to suggest they are also involved in criminal activity such as burglaries."

Officers attended and dealt with two persons in the Hadleigh area following these reports.

To sell door to door, it is a legal requirement to hold a pedlars certificate. There are strict rules around obtaining a pedlars certificate, which can be obtained by applying to the Police.

If you work as a pedlar without a certificate – or you let someone else use yours – you could be fined up to £200

If they do not hold a certificate that has been duly authorised by the Police, it looks fake, belongs to another person, or it is simply out of date then do not buy from them.

They will also state that they do not need a pedlar certificate or 'hawkers' licence to show you items for you to order. This is just a ruse they use to avoid abiding by the pedlar certificate, however a certificate is still required whatever they claim.


  • Politely refuse to buy from them and close the door. Do not get involved in any verbal altercation with them.
  • Do not let them into your address for any reason and never give out any personal information.
  • Call 101 (999 in an emergency) if you are subjected to verbal abuse or intimidation, or simply to let us know they are in the area.

The images above are examples of IDs used and a Hawker's declaration that a pedlar's certificate is not required for their activity. A Hawker requires a pedlars certificate.