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12 May 2017

Operation clamps down on rogue traders

We are pleased to be involved in this initiative and hope the action taken sends out a strong message to those companies who do not trade with integrity

Carolyn Godfrey

We've joined forces with Wiltshire Police and Swindon Borough Council's Trading Standards and other partnership agencies in a bid to target rogue traders and forceful doorstep sellers as part of a week-long crime prevention initiative.

The national Operation Rogue Trader campaign involved a week of action (Monday 8 May until Friday 12 May) from police forces and agencies across the UK, with a specific day of enforcement on Tuesday 9 May 2017.

Wiltshire Police officers and staff along with members of Trading Standards took part in the day with officers using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) to carry out intelligence-led roadside stop checks of vehicles, as well as mobile patrols and engaging with the public to offer advice and guidance around rogue trading in their specific area.

Salisbury results

• 48 Vehicles were stopped
• Four offences were detected by the police including:
o Three vehicles with no MOT
o One driver with no licence
• 2 possible illegal waste sites were identified which will be followed up
• 9 Businesses will be spoken to by the Environment Agency for incorrect paperwork

Chippenham results

• 37 Vehicles were stopped
• Three offences were enforced by the police including
o 1 driver with no licence
o 1 vehicle with no MOT
o 1 vehicle with no insurance
• Five intelligence reports were received
• One unlicensed scrap metal dealer was stopped and will be formally interviewed and prosecuted
• A number of businesses will be followed up on for not having waste carrier licences
• One vehicle was incorrectly displaying trust mark stickers which were removed

Swindon results

• Swindon Trading Standards issued trader advice to 10 businesses
• Issued 1 formal warning for not issuing the correct Notice of Right to Cancel giving a 14 day cooling off period as required by law.

For the financial year 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 Swindon Trading Standards received 167 reports of rogue trading incidents. This is an increase of 10% on the previous year.

30% of the rogue trader reports Swindon Trading Standards received were regarding roofing work, including guttering, roof cleaning and sealing. These incidents can range from replacing one single tile to completely replacing the roof.

26% of the rogue trader reports received were of traders cold calling selling goods, including knives, mattresses and fish.

18% of reports are driveway work including power washing, block paving and tarmacking.

The profile of the average rogue trader victim living in the Borough of Swindon is a 75 year old female living alone that has not been a repeat victim of rogue trading.

Swindon Trading Standards said "we do not recommend using any trader that cold calls or leaflet drops. They advise you to use "Buy with Confidence" the only approved trader scheme that require DBS for all traders who work in consumers' homes or with vulnerable people. The businesses are audited by Trading Standards Officers and financial checks, plus vetting against local and national trading standards databases, are also carried out."

Along with Swindon Trading Standards we can supply residents with a printed list of our Buy with Confidence Members and a "No Cold Calling" door sticker which helps prevents cold callers. They regularly post information packs through the doors of potentially vulnerable residents to try and stop people becoming victims of Rogue Traders.

Operation Rogue Trader is led by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit that links associated crimes and gathers intelligence on key nominals and organised crime groups who travel extensively throughout the UK.

Wiltshire Police's Head of Crime Prevention Superintendent Phil Staynings said: "I hope the day of action shows those who try to con the most vulnerable in our communities that we are out to stop them.

"This was a successful day of partnership working with other agencies all working together to educate traders working in Wiltshire and take action against those who weren't trading fairly.

"Positive feedback was received from a number of the legitimate traders stopped showing that our work is appreciated by consumers and genuine traders alike.

"We encourage anyone who is concerned about potential rogue traders to contact police and we will continue working closely with partners to help prevent rogue traders targeting vulnerable members of our communities."

Carolyn Godfrey, Wiltshire Council corporate director said: "We are pleased to be involved in this initiative and hope the action taken sends out a strong message to those companies who do not trade with integrity. Rogue traders cause loss and distress to consumers each year and together with our partners we will do everything in our power to find and stop them.

"We'd recommend Wiltshire consumers search for traders via our Buy With Confidence scheme which provides invaluable reassurance that any business registered on it can be trusted."

Householders are asked to remember the following advice:
• Not sure? Don't open the door!
• Check the identity of the doorstep caller by telephoning the company they are purporting to be from. Use telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider.
• Check whether traders are members of the Consumer Codes Approval Scheme or the Government Trust Mark scheme.
• Discuss any work you feel needs carrying out on your property with a relative or friend who can help you find a reputable trader.
• Don't agree to any work or sign anything on the spot. Do not be pressured into having any work carried out.
• Never pay cash up front and never go to the bank or cash point with a trader.
• If you suspect a rogue trader is at your door then call 999.

People should visit buy with confidence to find a list of trusted traders in their local area.

Last updated: 12 May 2017 | Last reviewed: 12 May 2017

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