Operation Rogue Trader sends strong message to criminals (12 Oct 2018)

A week of co-ordinated activity to deliver a strong message to rogue trading criminals and to encourage residents to reject 'cold callers' has been running across West Yorkshire.

Operation Rogue Trader started on Monday 8 October and has been delivered in partnership between West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Trading Standards.

It has involved educational activity to raise awareness of doorstep crime and its impact on victims.

Lisa Keyworth is a Crime Prevention Officer with West Yorkshire Police.

"Work to prevent doorstep crime which is often committed by rogue traders is always ongoing. This includes targeting suspected criminals and working with potentially vulnerable people to stop them falling victim to the criminals.

"Victims of doorstep crime often feel embarrassed about falling victim to this type of crime. We would like to remind the public that these criminals can be organised and very convincing, so our message is simple, 'say NO to cold callers'.

"The impact of this type of crime on victims goes beyond their financial loss, with some victims left physically shaking afterwards, which is why it's so important to raise awareness of the prevention advice.

"We would urge people not to do business with cold callers and not to be rushed into home repairs. Remember - consumers are legally entitled to a 14-day cooling off period in most home improvement contracts formed at their home.

"You should also check the identity of the caller by phoning the company they say they are from. Use the telephone number listed in your local directory, and not one given to you by the caller.

"This week of action is part of a 12 month approach to tackle this often under-reported crime."

During the week, Police, Trading Standards and other partners in the Fraud Prevention Group including Age UK, Yorkshire Water, Victim Support, the Alzheimer's Society, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service and the Royal British Legion have been raising awareness among elderly people in particular who are sometimes seen as more vulnerable to being a victim of such crime and warning them about the potential dangers of cold callers.

Leaflets are being distributed through meal delivery services across West Yorkshire warning of the dangers of rogue traders. And a presentation was delivered by Lisa in partnership with Trading Standards on doorstep crime through a Community Safety event organised by Yorkshire Water.

Linda Davis, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Manager (Communities), said:

"Rogue traders do often prey on elderly people as they see them as more trusting and more likely to allow them into the house.

"We are urging elderly people to be alert to the dangers but also asking sons, daughters and neighbours of elderly people to watch out for them.

"Other advice includes: Where possible use a trader recommended to you by someone you know, or use a trusted trader scheme. Ask a neighbour or nearby friend to check out the caller before you open the door to them or agree to have work done. Never pay cash up front Always get at least three quotes before agreeing to have work done.

If a suspected rogue trader is at the door and you feel threatened and / or a crime is in progress then call 999. If you want to report a crime you can contact the police on line via live chat or call 101. You can also report rogue traders to Trading Standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506."

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: "Making sure members of our communities aren't taken advantage of by callous criminals is in all our interests and I very much welcome this week of action. This initiative highlights just how important it is that we look out for anyone who may potentially be exploited by those who deliberately target those perceived as vulnerable and follows on from the work being undertaken by the jointly funded West Yorkshire Financial and Exploitation Abuse Team I'm supporting with Trading Standards. There is a range of work underway aiming to tackle these issues and members of the public can also get involved by becoming a Scam Marshal's for instance, for more information contact Trading Standards."

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019