30 October 2014

People in Northamptonshire are being urged to look out for rogue doorstep traders preying on elderly and vulnerable neighbours as part of National Consumer Week (3-7 November).

With as many as 170,000 incidents of doorstep crime being reported nationally every year, the Good Neighbours Stop Rogue Traders campaign, which is being backed by Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards team, encourages neighbours, friends, families and carers to help discourage rogue traders.

What are rogue traders?

These traders often cold call and offer to carry out repairs which are poor quality, unnecessary and charged at extortionate prices, sometimes even driving the victim to the bank to withdraw money or threatening them.

Cllr André González de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “This campaign links in with the existing work we are doing through the Doorstep crime Action Network (DAN) around protecting the people we care for from falling victim to doorstep crime.

“Whether you are caring for a family member, working as a professional in the community or community safety field, or just keeping an eye out for a neighbour, you may be the only person that has regular contact with them and you can play a vital role in preventing them from becoming a victim of this despicable crime.”

The impact of doorstep crime reaches beyond financial loss. It can also cause distress and upset and take a toll on a person’s mental and even physical health.

Martin Lord, Chief Officer of Central and East Northamptonshire Citizens Advice Bureau, said: “Rogue traders bring misery to thousands of households. It’s disgraceful that some traders rip people off on their own doorstep. Staff and volunteers at bureaux up and down the country already help victims of these crimes, but preventing con artists from doing damage in the first place is crucial.

"We’ll continue to work closely with Trading Standards and other organisations across Northamptonshire to crack down on illegal practices, bring rogue traders to justice and help victims to move on. We want people to be on the lookout for doorstep crime in their community to help stop neighbours falling foul of rogues.”

How you can help

People with an elderly or vulnerable neighbour are being asked to pass on gentle crime prevention reminders and if they have concerns that they may be a victim of a rogue trader they should contact Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06. If a crime is in progress, then dial 999.

DAN leaflets, postcards and ‘No Cold Calling’ stickers are available from Trading Standards by calling 0300 126 1000 or e-mailing tradestd@northamptonshire.gov.uk.

People can also call to get the name of Trading Standards approved traders selected from the Buy With Confidence scheme. Alternatively, visit the website www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/approvedtraders.

The Good Neighbours Stop Rogue Traders campaign is a partnership between Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards, the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), Citizens Advice and the National Trading Standards Board.