COWBOY businesses and cold callers were targeted by more than 50 officers from Cheshire Constabulary yesterday (Wednesday, May 20) in operation “Rogue Trader”.
Aiming to put a stop to over-charging for work, claiming for work that hasn’t been undertaken and distraction burglaries, trading standards officers, police, court enforcement and environment agency officers in Cheshire took park in the intelligence led operation.
Following the raids five people were arrested for offences including distraction burglary and consumer legislation offences and a total of 12 trading standards offences were identified which will now be investigated further.
Detective Constable Paul Unwin said: “This operation was aimed at disrupting and bringing to justice those committing offences of this nature, and also to offer prevention advice in our communities in a bid to prevent people falling victim to these crimes. We want to send out a strong message to all would-be rogue traders who may think that cold calling is an easy way to make a profit. Deceiving people on their doorstep and delivering poor quality over priced services is not an option in Cheshire, Halton and Warrington”.
Neighbourhood policing teams throughout the force were also out and about talking to communities on how to prevent them falling victim to rogue traders.
Roads policing officers utilised Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to conduct instantaneous checks on suspicious vehicles or those suspected of being used by travelling criminals to commit doorstep crime and a total of 80 vehicles and their occupants were stop-checked across the County.
Police are asking people to be extra vigilant of traders knocking and offering guttering, roofing, paving services, gardening or tree cutting services, callers purporting to work on behalf of a charity, callers purporting to work for a utility company or the council, taking deposits and not returning, charging prices which would not be ‘reasonable’.
Not giving cancellation notices out to consumers after cold calls, taking consumers to banks or building societies, hard sell of products, causing fear to consumers, shoddy or poor work, causing consumers to pay out again to have the task rectified.
Deposits taken and work not done, work only partly completed, having to pay again to finish the job, receiving no guarantees or warranties.
Anyone with any concerns regarding doorstep callers should contact Police on 0845 458 0000.