Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who cold-call householders, targeting vulnerable and elderly residents, claiming to be a bona fide business offering services, most commonly buildings maintenance and repair.
More than 80 vehicles have been stopped and 43 people spoken to across Derbyshire as part of an action day to target potential rogue traders. Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who cold-call householders, targeting vulnerable and elderly residents, claiming to be a bona fide business offering services, most commonly buildings maintenance and repair.
The operation took place on Wednesday, April 13 as part of a national crackdown known as Operation Rogue Trader, co-ordinated by Operation Liberal, the national distraction burglary intelligence unit, the Trading Standards Institute and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).
Police teamed up with staff from partner agencies and carried out roving patrols across the county, attending incidents of rogue trading activity, speaking to anyone cold calling and stopping any suspicious vehicles.
A static checkpoint was also set up at Tibshelf Motorway Services to target vehicles as they travelled through the area.
Joining police for the operation in Derbyshire were Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards team, the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA), who carried out vehicle safety checks, the Environment Agency who carried out checks on waste and scrap carriers, the Department for Work and Pensions who carried out checks for working benefits claimants and officers from the hidden economy and fuel testing departments of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who checked for tax compliance and “red” diesel.
A number of events are also being set up over the next few weeks to help raise awareness of rogue traders and doorstep crime, offering advice and information to residents to help keep the issue in the spotlight.
Detective Inspector Harry Dick said: “The operation was aimed at targeting any potential rogue traders, taking positive action against offences and gathering valuable information from the community, while also reminding those who try to con the most vulnerable in our communities that we are actively looking for them.
“The day of action was a success and I would like to thank the many different agencies who came together on the day to play their part. Our campaign will continue as we work together to educate traders and ensure our area stays safe.”
Eighty-four vehicles were stopped in total; 45 passed through the motorway check point.
Two vehicles were seized because they were uninsured and one was prohibited, as the load it was carrying was found to be severely over loaded.
A number of other traffic and license offences were also prosecuted. VOSA issued a number of advisories and an immediate prohibition notice to vehicles too dangerous to be on the road.
Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said: “Operations like these are very useful at cracking down on rogue traders who may offer residents a discount rate on major projects like building work or laying a drive but then do a shoddy job and charge them over the odds.
“We would advise residents to find reputable businesses using our Trusted Trader scheme which features hundreds of builders, joiners, plumbers, landscapers and decorators who have signed up to do a good job at a reasonable price.”
Residents can search for a Trusted Trader and businesses can sign up to be a member of the scheme at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/tt
The Department for Work and Pensions are now carrying out further enquiries into a number of people suspected to be working whilst claiming benefits and HMRC also identified a number of people who they suspect may not be correctly paying tax.
For more information and advice on rogue traders and doorstep crime visit the Derbyshire police website: www.derbyshire.police.uk/Safety-advice.
Anyone concerned about suspicious callers in their area should call Derbyshire police on 101 or dial 999 if a crime is in progress.