Day of action to tackle rogue traders
Northumbria Police has taken part in a national initiative that tackles bogus callers and rogue traders who target vulnerable people.
Across the country, police forces, Trading Standards, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Environment Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, the DVLA and VOSA, the UK Border Agency, Scambusters and other partnerswork together to catch rogue traders and to prevent people from becoming victims of crime.
The National Enforcement Day took place last Wednesday with the main focus being on bogus and rogue traders who typically target areas where vulnerable people, including the elderly, live.
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.
Detective Superintendent Peter Bent, of Northumbria Police, said: "This operation demonstrates how seriously we take this type of crime. Fraudsters or rogue traders will not be tolerated within our force area.
“It is not illegal for traders to sell at the door, however, if an offer sounds too good to be true then it probably is so be careful who you deal with and what you agree to. Legitimate callers will certainly not mind if you shut and lock the door while you verify that they are genuine, so don’t be afraid to do so.
"Legitimate callers should also be carrying a form of photographic identity which includes details of the company they are representing. There are also a number of schemes available which allow customers access to tradespeople who are checked and vetted. Using one of these schemes removes most of the risk regarding who can be trusted to perform good work at an appropriate price and I would encourage people to consider using one rather than using a cold caller at their door.
"Never let anyone into your home who you are unsure about or uncomfortable with and report any suspicious callers to the police straight away.”
Northumbria Police's motor patrol officers also took to the roads as part of the day of action and stopped around 40 vehicles. In addition to that, 25 other offences were identified. As part of the operation, officers from Operation Dragoon also helped carry out the vehicle stops with some successful results with other officers stop checking companies and visiting houses to reassure and inform the public.
This is the 12th year that organisations have targeted rogue traders as part of a multi-agency campaign and highlight the dangers that consenting to have work carried out by cold-callers can bring.