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Operation Rogue Trader targets doorstep criminals

Posted on: 15 October 2018

Rogue traders and aggressive doorstep sellers across Devon and Somerset were targeted by Police and Trading Standards officers in a joint operation last week.

As part of Rogue Trader Week, Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards joined officers from Avon & Somerset Police at a stop check operation in Yeovil. Trading Standards were able to give direct, on-the-spot advice to more than 20 traders who work on or around people’s homes, ensuring that not only are they aware of legislative requirements themselves but also know how to report an issue should they come across any suspicious activity.

Trading Standards Officers also visited communities in Devon and Somerset to highlight the dangers of rogue traders, forceful doorstep sellers and cold-callers, and advise residents on how to recognise and protect themselves against doorstep crime. Information stands were set up at supermarkets in Bridgwater, Yeovil, Barnstaple, Exeter and Torquay, giving hundreds of shoppers the chance to speak to officers for some one-to-one advice, and pick up leaflets and door stickers. Officers were also able to gather intelligence which will be used by Trading Standards and the Police to reduce doorstep crime and bring offenders to justice.

Paul Thomas, Head of Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service, said:

“Rogue traders make people’s lives a misery using high-pressure sales techniques to take advantage of people, especially the vulnerable. They charge inflated prices for sub-standard work and often target the elderly who can be too scared to refuse or too embarrassed to complain about being duped. Their actions also have a lasting impact on victims’ lives, damaging their confidence and sense of security in their own homes.

“Tackling doorstep crime is one of our top priorities, and this week our officers have been working hard to advise residents on how to spot a rogue trader and protect themselves and others from falling victim.

“Through years of partnership working we have built up a powerful network of professional experience and expertise. Operation Rogue Trader has been another opportunity for us to work together to make use of all available resources to continue to close the net on doorstep criminals and make this region a difficult place for them to operate.”

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 involved over 1,400 personnel, 1,806 were stopped and searched, 87 arrests with 871 offences and over £40,000 in property 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 among the most vulnerable groups.

Activities during the week of action across the UK include executing warrants, identifying vehicles used by criminals through automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), conducting intelligence-led patrols and raids, and educating members of the public and frequently targeted groups before they can be scammed.