Rogue traders and aggressive doorstep sellers were targeted last week by Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards working in partnership with Northamptonshire Police as part of Operation Rogue Trader.
Police and Trading Standards Officers collaborated on a week of activity with joint enforcement days across the County to identify rogue business practices and raise awareness of the dangers linked to hiring cold-callers and responding to scam mail.
Trading Standards and Police Officers carried out high visibility proactive patrols across the County, prioritising those areas where there had been previous incidents of doorstep crime. A total of 15 advisory notices were issued to traders carrying out property maintenance work.
Proactive crime patrols
There was also positive feedback from legitimate local traders that Trading Standards and the Police were taking action to identify and deal with rogue traders. In addition, officers also visited a number of residents that had been identified as falling victim to mail or telephone scams. A total of 11 scam victims were visited and a further 15 received written advice and crime prevention leaflets.
As part of Operation Rogue Trader week, a No Cold Calling Zone was launched in Samwell Way and Lynmore Close in Hunsbury Meadows after a rise in doorstep callers in the area. An illegally landed puppy was also seized and placed into quarantine as it had not had the necessary rabies injections before being brought in to the country. This is a criminal offence.
Operation Rogue Trader is a national multi-agency campaign coordinated by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) with Liberal, the Police National Intelligence Unit.
Last year's campaign nationally involved over 1400 personnel, 1806 individuals were stopped and searched, 871 offences identified resulting in 87 arrests and over £40,000 in property seized.
Over £40,000 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.
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."
Louise Baxter, who is CTSI Lead Officer for Consumer Education and Team Manager at National Trading Standards, said:
“It’s crucial to raise awareness of doorstep crime and help prevent innocent people from falling victim to these criminals. This campaign provides a platform to educate people and put a stop to doorstep crime in our communities.”
If you suspect someone of being a rogue trader, or find yourself accosted by uninvited doorstep sellers, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506. If a crime is in progress dial 999.