Good Neighbours STOP Rogue Traders

12th October 2015

Rogue Traders and pushy door step sellers are people who prey on the most vulnerable people within society, often conning them out of vast sums of money which in many cases are their life savings, for unnecessary and overpriced work.

The activity was directed by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality and Trading Standards.

During the week officers worked closely with colleagues from local Trading Standards teams. They have been gathering intelligence, visiting businesses, carrying out patrols, and conducting vehicle checks across Gwent.

Local Neighbourhood policing teams were also out in their communities providing residents with advice and guidance on how they can keep themselves and members of their communities safe. Leaflets have also been distributed to raise awareness of the crime and encourage reporting, surgeries have also been held and OAP complexes visited.

Results from the enforcement side of the week include:

  • 28 vehicles stopped and checked
  • 3 vehicles seized - 2 x no insurance and 1 x suspected to be stolen
  • 1 caravan seized - suspected to be stolen
  • 3 Traffic Offence Reports issued for vehicles not having MOTs
  • 5 vehicles given temporary prohibitions by DVSA
  • 10 vehicles dipped for red diesel
  • 3 people arrested on suspicion of theft*
  • 2 people arrested on suspicion of Trading Standards offences**
  • 1 person being investigated by the Department of Work and Pensions
  • 1 person reported for driving without a licence

Chief Inspector Jo Bull said: "It is essential that we work with partners in the community to raise awareness of things people can do to protect themselves and their properties from rogue traders and provide reassurance to those who are most vulnerable.

"Doorstep crime has a huge impact on victims, so it is essential that we prevent, disrupt and enforce against these kinds of criminals.

"I would urge members of the public who have been victims of such callers or traders, or who perhaps have friends, neighbours or family members who have been targeted to contact police on 999 in an emergency or 101 if the call is less urgent."

Highlighting the importance of raising awareness and targeting rogue traders, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Paul Harris, said: "Whether it's over the phone, through the post or people turning up on your doorstep, these unscrupulous scammers can make lives a misery. Older people in particular are more vulnerable and need protection against these con artists. This is why the team in the OPCC has been working closely with a range of partners on developing an all Wales Scams and Swindles Charter which is being driven forward by Age Cymru. By working with partners on a local and national basis, we want to make it harder for these criminals to exploit or scam their customers and the wider public."

Trading Standards Wales National Coordinator, Dai Jones said: "Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who cold-call householders, often targeting the vulnerable, masquerading as a bona fide business offering services (most commonly garden or building maintenance and repair). These fraudsters set out to con their victims into paying for work that is often unnecessary, deliberately sub-standard and blatantly overpriced. They often demand payment up front for the work and then disappear without completing it (or sometimes without even starting it).

"Trading Standards teams in Wales work constantly to tackle fraudulent business; protect vulnerable consumers; and support reputable businesses. During Rogue Trader Week, Trading Standards joins forces with the Police and other enforcement agencies to target Rogue Traders. By focusing our combined skills, powers and resources in this way we significantly increase our capacity to apprehend these criminals and bring them before the courts. This approach has proved to be extremely effective in the past and we shall strive to replicate that success this year.

"The simple message from Trading Standards to householders is to always say 'no' to any traders who unexpectedly turn up on your doorstep offering to carry out work".