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A COUNCIL has issued a surreal warning that involves scammers smelling cash.

Witney Town Council, relaying information from Thames Valley Police, has warned residents of 'Nottingham Knockers': young men who go door to door selling cleaning products.

The selling of items like dusters, the warning says, is used as a means of assessing whether any cash or valuables are inside a property before the address is sold on to burglars or dodgy builders.

Bizarrely, part of the scam is said to involve smelling money, a technique used by the conmen to discover whether it was stored in a house alongside other cash.

The warning reads: "The price for whatever has been purchased usually comes to a note – usually £10. The householder disappears to get this. This is when the scam begins.

"When the note is handed over, the lad examines the condition and how long it took the person to get it. If it is crumpled, they accept it and move on. If it is crisp, flat and new – they are much more interested and may engage the person in more conversation to obtain details about them.

"As they leave they will smell the note. If it is slightly musty this is an indication that there is more in the property. Those addresses are noted. The addresses of elderly/vulnerable/gullible people are all noted."

These addresses are then handed to an employer, who offers cash for each one.

The addresses are then sold in pubs and prisons and, if there is a later break in, the employer expects a further cut of the proceeds.

The warning concludes by urging residents to ask any door to door salespeople for a pedlar's certificate - which are issued under very strict conditions - and to contact police on 101 if they see Nottingham Knockers in the area.