What is a 'Nottingham Knocker' and where did the term come from?

The phrase if often used by police press offices and by newspapers reporting associated crimes
Two cats sitting on a windowsill on Manton Crescent, Nottingham.Two cats sitting on a windowsill on Manton Crescent, Nottingham.
Two cats sitting on a windowsill on Manton Crescent, Nottingham.

Very often when we're coming up with content plans here at Nottingham World, we will consult our old friend Google Trends to find out what you, our esteemed readers, want to know about.

It usually chucks up questions about Nottingham Forest or when the time is right the Goose Fair or Splendour Festival (sadly it's not happening this year.)

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But today we noticed a new phrase popping up in the search-o-sphere. Nottingham Knockers.

I had assumed this was a crass nickname for the Nottingham branch of Hooters or something sordid. I was half right (but not about the Hooters bit.)

Read more: Your Nottingham

What is a Nottingham Knocker?

Nottingham Knocker is a term for an aggressive door-to-door salesman who sells goods at an inflated price to vulnerable people.

Often a Nottingham Knocker is believed to be a scout for a later burglary.

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The scammer may use various tactics to distract the homeowner, such as claiming to be from a utility company and needing to check meters, offering services or products, or pretending to need assistance / in distress.

While the homeowner is distracted, an accomplice may attempt to enter the property to steal valuables.

The term is often used by the press in headlines to report that scamming is taking place in the area. It has been used by numerous titles across the country including the East Anglian Daily Times, Yahoo and by West Mercia Police.

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Why Nottingham?

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The name suggests these types of crimes only take place in our city, but on the contrary, they happen up and down the country - and even the world.

The tactic originated here in Nottingham, hence the name, when a group of young men would go door-to-door to trade. The goods were thought to have been obtained from warehouses.

How to protect yourself from Nottingham Knockers

It's important to be cautious when dealing with unexpected visitors, especially those claiming to be from official organisations.

Legitimate utility workers, salespeople, or service providers usually have identification, and it's advisable to verify their credentials by contacting the relevant company before allowing them access to your home.

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Additionally, consider installing a peephole, security chain or Ring doorbell on your door to safely screen and interact with unexpected visitors.

If they are in your area, please call the police immediately on 101 with a description of them and any associated vehicle they may be using.