Press releases

Operation Rogue Trader 2013

Picture of a person knocking on a doorNot Sure? Don’t Open the Door!

Operation Rogue Trader 2013
National Press release
Police and partners on the streets to catch rogue traders

Across the UK, rogue traders and pushy doorstep sellers who use fraud to con vulnerable people into paying for unnecessary or vastly overpriced work to their home were targeted in a UK wide day of action on Wednesday 24 April 2013.

Police across the country joined forces with Trading Standards services and other government agencies in a campaign to target rogue traders and highlight the dangers of consenting to have work carried out by cold callers.

The day of action is was part of a week of activities led by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality, and Trading Standards.  Hundreds of officers were out on the streets executing warrants, identifying vehicles used by criminals through automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and conducting intelligence-led patrols in areas where older or vulnerable people live.

ACPO lead for Operation Liberal Peter Goodman said:

“Rogue traders prey on the most vulnerable in society, conning them out of vast sums of money, which in many cases are their life savings, for unnecessary and overpriced work.  When someone falls foul of a rogue trading scam, research shows it has a seriously detrimental effect on the victim’s health and their confidence.

“Those involved in this form of illegal activity do not tend to be law abiding citizens in other aspects of their life.  By involving a range of different agencies, we can seriously hamper their offending patterns and get them off the streets.”

The last Rogue Trader Operation in 2011 saw over 200 people arrested, £450,000 worth of property recovered and nearly 10,000 vehicles inspected.  A roof job was discovered that started off as a broken tile; the final bill came to £25,000.

Trading Standards Institute’s chief executive Leon Livermore said:

“Operation Rogue Trader is a fantastic initiative that highlights joint working at its best, achieving excellent results in fighting these criminals who cause enormous distress and even financial ruin to so many across the country.

“We would encourage consumers to protect themselves by simply saying ‘no’ and shutting the door on cold calling doorstep traders - they could be anyone.  And remember: they could also be using the time you spend speaking to them as a cover for distraction burglary.  If you need work carried out on your home, use a local authority approved trader scheme to find a reputable workman.”

The interim chair of the National Trading Standards Board David Collinson said:

“Day in day out our trading standards officers in local authorities and our specialist Scambusters teams see first-hand the devastating impact rogue traders can have on the lives of unsuspecting householders, not only financially but emotionally too.

“We see evidence of links between cold calling rogue traders and distraction burglaries and have found vulnerable consumers being targeted.

“Operation Rogue Trader is a great opportunity to put the spotlight on these callous criminals to raise awareness and boost protection for consumers.”

If you think a rogue trader is at the door call the police on 999. People should report uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506 or 08454 040505 for a Welsh speaking adviser.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any distraction burglar or rogue trader should ring their local police on 101 or call Crimestoppers, the national charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111

Notes to editors:

• Spokespeople from Operation Liberal, Trading Standards Institute and National Trading Standards Board will be available for interviews.
• The press release is embargoed until 16.00 hours on Wednesday 24 April 2013, so should not be published until then to allow for the completion of operational activity.
• Many police forces taking part will be co-ordinating media activity locally.  Please contact your local police press office for details.
• Operation Liberal – Rob James, Communications Officer, Operation Liberal, 0115 967 0999 x 800 3050 or 07595 011 607 or
• Trading Standards Institute/National Trading Standards Board – Irja Howie, Press Officer, TSI on 08456 089 430 or
• Operation Rogue Trader was not held in 2012 due to the many events and calls on the time of Police and other law enforcement agencies during the year especially the Olympic Games and Jubilee celebrations.
• In May, Citizens Advice is working with Trading Standards Institute on Scams Awareness Month to warn people about emerging cons and how people can protect themselves from rogues.
• Operation Rogue Trader on Twitter #RogueTrader2013

Background to Operation Rogue Trader

Operation Rogue Trader is a joint operation being run by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality, and Trading Standards.

The campaign is led by Operation Liberal and Trading Standards service working with the Department of Work and Pensions, Environment Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, the UK Border Agency and Scambusters.

A distraction burglar is defined as someone who gains access to your property by distracting or tricking their way in to steal cash or valuables.

Rogue traders are criminals who take advantage of householders by using high pressure sales techniques.  The work is often sub-standard or not required at all.

It is not illegal for traders to sell at the door and legitimate callers will not mind if you shut and lock the door while you verify that they are genuine.  Rogue traders often offer gardening work or maintenance services at attractive rates but the quality of work is substandard, unnecessary or overpriced.  They often use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions.

Operation Liberal

The campaign is being run by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality, and Trading Standards.  The unit highlights crime series and monitors intelligence on known criminals and organised crime groups who travel extensively throughout the UK to commit crimes. 

The unit identifies and analyse crime series and monitors intelligence on criminals and organised crime groups who travel throughout the UK to commit these crime types.  This collaborative approach solves more crimes and sends a message to the criminals who commit this type of crime that they will face a nationally co-ordinated investigation and as a result they can expect significant sentences.

Operation Liberal works with many partner agencies including Water Uk, Energy UK, Trading Standards, Crimestoppers and the Home Office.

Trading Standards Institute

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 supporting the delivery of  advice services Citizens Advice Consumer Service, UK European Consumer Centre and UK European Consumer Centre for Services.  @tsi_uk

National Trading Standards Board

The NTSB represents all trading standards services across England and Wales. It was established by the Government in April 2012 to improve the enforcement of laws intended to tackle rogue traders operating both regionally and nationally who are causing harm to consumers and legitimate businesses. The NTSB issues grants and funds national and regional initiatives such as Scambusters, the Illegal Money Lending Team and the e-Crime Unit.
Scambusters is a NTSB funded project aimed at targeting rogue trading and scams across England and Wales, supporting all local authority areas in England and Wales. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.

DATE: 24 April 2013