Rogue traders and forceful doorstep sellers in Staffordshire and across the UK were targeted during a national day of action this week.
Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards team was joined by police officers to target known unscrupulous traders known to be operating in the area. It was the twelfth annual Rogue Trader Operation.
A day of action on Wednesday was part of a week of activities being led by trading standards teams and police. A range of other organisations and government agencies also took part. Around 40 doorstep traders were stopped throughout the day and advised of their legal obligations. There were no arrests.
Vehicle checks were also carried out with the DVSA and advice and reassurance given to residents and communities across Staffordshire.
Over three days, the teams stopped 123 vehicles, checked 39 companies for signs of rogue trader activity, visited 737 households to gather intelligence and provide advice and distributed 4,990 crime prevention leaflets to members of the public.
The national campaign is being run by Operation Liberal (Police National Intelligence Unit) tackling cross border crime. This concentrates on door step crime which includes distraction burglary and rogue trader offences. Rogue trading is a UK wide problem and evidence suggests that some criminals network with each other. Typical rogue trader activities include unnecessary or overpriced home improvement work such as roofing or guttering, landscaping, tree cutting, driveway work and high pressure washing of drives and roofs.
Staffordshire County Council’s communities leader Gill Heath said:
The national Rogue Trader Week demonstrates how important it is for organisations to coordinate and work closely together to tackle this type of criminal activity. By using our resources effectively, we have a greater impact. Furthermore we know criminals operate across borders and so intelligence and information sharing is vital. We have again seen a successful week and in addition to potentially preventing criminal activity, we have been able to offer advice and reassurance so that people can protect themselves all year round. We will continue to work with a range of organisations to ensure Staffordshire people are safe and feel safe.”
Chief Inspector Jason Nadin, commander of the Tamworth local policing team and force lead for the Rogue Trader campaign, said:
The real emphasis of the rogue trader campaign is to raise awareness and educate the public about the threat so that they are less likely to become victims. Whilst it isn’t all blue lights and chases, the intelligence gathered to help us stop the parasites that target the most vulnerable is invaluable. It’s vitally important that we reduce the rewards the offenders can make by reducing the number of victims they can target.”
The last national Rogue Trader Operation in 2016 saw nearly 300 people arrested, and nearly £3million worth of property recovered and over 5,000 vehicles inspected.
Across the country, other organisations involved included the Department for Work and Pensions, Environment Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and the UK Border Agency.