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National crack down on rogue traders

Posted 02/10/15

Rogue traders and forceful doorstep sellers across the UK were targeted in a national day of action on Wednesday 30 September 2015 as part of a week-long crime prevention initiative. 

Activities on the day ranged from executing warrants, identifying vehicles used by criminals through automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) to conducting intelligence-led patrols in areas where older or vulnerable people live.

Police and trading standards services across the country worked with the Department of Work and Pensions, Environment Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, the DVLA, the DVSA, the UK Border Agency and Scambusters to catch rogue traders and to prevent innocent people from becoming victims of crime.

This is the 10th anniversary of organisations across the UK taking part in a campaign that targets rogue traders and highlights the risk of using cold callers.

The last Operation Rogue Trader in 2014 saw nearly 400 people arrested, £153,200 worth of property recovered and over 10,000 vehicles inspected.

Rogue trading is a UK wide problem with evidence suggesting a number of  burglars associate with rogue traders. Rogue traders often travel vast distances to commit offences, highlighting why having a national capability such as Operation Liberal is important.

Peter Goodman, Deputy Chief Constable East Midlands and the National Policing Lead for Operation Liberal, said: “Distraction crimes and scams conning people of their life savings for unnecessary and overpriced work have a detrimental effect on the victim’s health and their confidence.

“We will continue to carry out operations like this.  Please remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or concerns about an individual offering to carry out work to the relevant agency.”

Op Rogue Trader is led by Operation Liberal a national intelligence unit that links associated crimes and gathers intelligence on known criminals and organised crime groups who travel extensively throughout the UK.  

Steve Playle, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute lead officer for doorstep crime said: 

“Trading Standards Services across the UK remain committed to tackling the crimes associated with cold calling home maintenance traders.  Interventions and prosecutions continue to take place which disrupts criminal activity and helps to protect vulnerable householders.”  

He added: “Intelligence sharing and joint initiatives between trading standards and the Police will continue and there is no place to hide for criminals engaged in doorstep crime.”

It is not illegal for traders to sell at the door.  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.

People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for a Welsh speaking adviser.

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

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