We can all help with Rogue Traders
Trading Standards officers from Nottinghamshire County Council have been spreading the word on rogue traders to raise awareness and to protect elderly and vulnerable residents across the county.
Officers have visited Nottinghamshire’s larger taxi firms to raise awareness of doorstep crime as some recent reports involved rogue trader victims using private taxis to the bank or a cash machine for payment.
The Council is writing to smaller taxi firms to encourage them to look out for potential incidents and report them, and larger builder’s merchants have had awareness visits as many doorstep crime incidents involve poor quality building work.
Trading Standards officers and Nottinghamshire Police also carried out high visibility patrols in areas where there have been recent reported incidents, which involved giving advice to traders and conducting vehicle checks.
There were 52 victims supported by the Council following a doorstep crime incident between April 2017 and April 2018.
Councillor John Handley, Vice-Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Communities and Place Committee, said: “We’ve already carried out a lot of work with banks to spot and report any suspicious behavior relating to doorstep crime and this week of action has built on this awareness raising.
“Taxi drivers, builder’s merchants and other traders can be our eyes and ears on this crime as many victims stay silent about their experiences, allowing these ruthless people to carry on with their misdemeanors.”
This activity was part of Operation Rogue Trader, a national multi-agency campaign coordinated by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) with Liberal, the Police National Intelligence Unit.
Liberal spokesperson, Andy Luckett, said: “Operation Rogue Trader catches offenders and disrupts criminal activity. Rogue traders tend to be involved in a number of illegal activities and working with multiple agencies means we can seriously obstruct criminals and get them off the streets.”
CTSI Lead Officer for Doorstep Crime, Tim Day, said: “Rogue traders and doorstep fraudsters prey on the most vulnerable in society. Working closely with the police and other agencies means we can intervene sooner and safeguard potential victims.”
“This campaign is a core part of a wider strategy to ensure trading standards and the police can work together so there’s no place for these kinds of criminals to hide.”
Last year’s campaign involved over 1,400 personnel, 1806 were stopped and searched, 87 arrests with 871 offences and over £40,000 in property seized.
Operation Rogue Trader began specifically to target doorstep crimes, especially distraction burglaries and rogue trader offences.
As rogue trading practices diversified, Operation Rogue Trader grew to allow participating authorities to proactively target criminal behaviour and raise awareness amongst the most vulnerable groups.
Activities during the week of action include executing warrants, identifying vehicles used by criminals through automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), conducting intelligence-led patrols and raids, and educating members of the public and frequently-targeted groups before they can be scammed.
Residents can report a suspected rogue trader or an aggressive uninvited doorstep sellers by contacting the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.