The controversial property portal Propertyheads has compiled a blacklist of tradesmen who have a criminal record.
The website says this is the first of its kind in the country - and it already has over 1,000 names on it.
The site now want homeowners to report rogue traders on the portal, so they can be added to the database.
The portal says the issue is wider than just ‘cowboy’ builders and fraudsters, but also covers convicted murderers and rapists which it says constitute “people you would not knowingly invite into your home.”
It says research suggests builders form the largest single category of rogue trade, followed by roofers, driveway traders and gardeners, painters and decorators, plasterers, bricklayers and carpenters.
Propertyheads claims many rogue traders are repeat offenders and some have more than 50 convictions.
The website's so-called ‘high risk’ areas include County Durham, Kent and Essex with low risk areas including Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Greater London.
Propertyheads is less than a year old and caused uproar when it launched as it referred to some agencies as 'partners' and including many property listings which had been carried without agencies' agreement.
Ben Davis, the portal’s chief executive, says of his new initiative: “We are appalled that so many homeowners are being ripped off by rogue traders and want to help. Quite simply reputable companies do not doorstep for new customers and homeowners would be well advised to avoid those that do.
“It is widely accepted that the best way to engage a reliable tradesman is by word of mouth. But how can you possibly know which of your friends and colleagues has used a reliable tradesman without asking all of them? And why is it that traditional tradesman review websites are built around anonymous reviews?”
He says three factors struck him when compiling the blacklist.
“Firstly, rogue tradesman will go to extraordinary lengths to mislead their victims including faking their own cancer and using vehicles with government agency sign-writing. Secondly, even those with seemingly reputable backgrounds – we have several ex Police and military in our Blacklist – are capable of awful crimes. And third, the sheer number of victims involved.”
He concludes: “If our blacklist helps just one homeowner avoid being ripped-off, then we will have done a good service.”