News item

79-year-old pensioner receives Hero Award for fighting doorstep crime

Pensioner Joan Morrison was so incensed when she realised that she’d been the victim of rogue traders who cold-called her to do work on her roof  that she was determined to do everything in her power to stop the same thing happening to other vulnerable people.

So Joan, 79, from the Macclesfield area reported the incident to Consumer Direct (the consumer advice helpline now provided by Citizens Advice). As a result, father and son Donald James Warner and James Dean Warner (of Adams Avenue, Tunstall, Stoke-on-Trent) were prosecuted by Cheshire East Council’s Consumer Protection and Investigations Team (Trading Standards) and convicted at Macclesfield Magistrates Court for fraud, cancellation rights and consumer protection offences, each receiving a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work.

Joan’s efforts are today (28 June) receiving national recognition with a Trading Standards Institute’s (TSI) Hero Award at TSI’s Conference in Manchester. 

Rick Hughes, Lead Officer Doorstep Crime at Cheshire East Consumer Protection and Investigations Team (Trading Standards), said: “These rogue traders cold-called at her address making false claims about the state of her chimney and said that if urgent work was not undertaken then she would have further problems with her property such as rain coming through the roof and into the living room. She was pressurised into having the work done.

“During our investigation I became aware of Joan’s bravery as she was always helpful and forthcoming. I was conscious that the incident had had some effect on her, but she was determined to help us track down the offenders and even more for her, prevent others becoming victims. She wants to make sure that others should also have the confidence to report such offences.”


Joan attended court and was also the spearhead for the launch of Cheshire East Consumer Protection and Investigations Team’s ‘Nominated Neighbour Scheme’, a preventative scheme for elderly and vulnerable residents. She was the first resident to sign up to the scheme; more than 1,000 residents have now signed up to the scheme.

A CRASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order on Conviction) has also been granted on the convicted father and son, banning them from making unsolicited calls at private houses for the purpose of obtaining building or gardening work; employ others to engage in the behaviour; or be at private houses to do building or gardening work without express permission of the owner. Donald Warner’s order runs until 28 February 2022 and James Warner’s runs until 28 February 2017.

Rick Hughes said: “Joan stood tall and supported our department in bring known offenders to justice as well as promoting and raising awareness of a serious issue in Cheshire East.”

DATE: 28 June 2012
END
Notes for Editors:

The awards ceremony is at Manchester Central on Thursday 28 June at 12.15pm.

• Citizens Advice is now the official, publicly-funded consumer service for England, Scotland and Wales. Visit the Citizens Advice website at http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/consumer_e or call 08454 04 05 06 to speak to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline for free and confidential information. This service was previously provided by Consumer Direct.
• The ‘Nominated Neighbour Scheme’ was launched by Cheshire East Council’s Consumer Protection and Investigations Team (Trading Standards) to tackle bogus callers and workmen or other kinds of distraction thefts. The scheme is aimed at vulnerable people in the community and makes the most of the area’s strong community relationships.
• Father and son Donald James Warner and James Dean Warner were prosecuted by Cheshire East Council’s Consumer Protection and Investigations Team (Trading Standards) and convicted at Macclesfield Magistrates Court for fraud, cancellation rights and consumer protection offences, each receiving a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work.  Three witnesses attended, one being Joan Morrison. Donald was convicted of offences under the Fraud Act 2006, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Cancellation of Contracts Made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Regulations 2008. James was convicted of offences under the Fraud Act 2006.  Donald was ordered to pay compensation totalling 900 pounds and 2,000 pounds in costs. James must pay 250 pounds in compensation and 330 pounds in costs.

For further information, to attend the ceremony or to arrange an interview please contact the Trading Standards Institute press officer Irja Howie on 07780675815or by e-mail on irjah@tsi.org.uk

Trading Standards Institute (TSI)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally.  We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities.

TSI’s members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities and in businesses.  We are also supporting the delivery of initiatives such as the advice services Consumer Direct, UK ECC and UK ECCS.

The Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2012
The Trading Standards Institute’s annual trading standards and consumer affairs Conference and Exhibition is the leading consumer affairs and trading standards event in Europe. The 2012 Conference is at Manchester Central from Tuesday 26 June to Thursday 28 June.

Some 1,500 people are expected to attend the conference, including representatives from local and central government and those interested in fair trading, representatives of business and commerce, together with consumer organisations.

Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend but should contact the press office on 0845 608 9430 to arrange passes.