Rogue doorstep traders are being targeted by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Trading Standards officers during National Consumer Week.
As part of the five-day national initiative which runs this week, officers from the council will be promoting their Nominated Neighbour scheme, which encourages residents to look out for elderly and vulnerable neighbours.
The theme of the week is “Good neighbours stop rogue traders”, and Trading Standards officers will be carrying out a number of different initiatives to promote that message and to get residents to sign up as a Nominated Neighbour.
People signing up fill out a postcard and then their details will then be supplied to their elderly and vulnerable neighbours. In the event of cold callers arriving on their doorstep, they are directed to talk with the Nominated Neighbour, rather than the person at whose house they have called.
Roger and Barbara Wheeler, from Ampthill, who have signed up for the Nominated Neighbour scheme, said: “We got involved because we like helping people and we think the scheme is a great way of helping vulnerable people feel safer and deterring rogue traders.”
With 170,000 instances of doorstep crime occurring nationally each year, including in Central Bedfordshire, it is hoped that the scheme will discourage rogue traders from trying to make a quick profit at the expense of vulnerable residents in return for carrying our poor-quality, unnecessary and overpriced repairs.
Councillor Brian Spurr, Executive Member for Community Services, said: “Rogue traders target the most vulnerable people in our community, and our Trading Standards officers, supported by the council as a whole, are determined to stop this from happening.
“The effects of doorstep crime go far beyond financial loss, as it can cause victims’ health to deteriorate. That is why we are asking neighbours, friends, relatives and carers to put themselves forward as Nominated Neighbours. It may seem a very simple gesture on your part, but it can make a huge difference and offer peace of mind to the people you are helping to protect.
“While our Trading Standards officers are continually striving to track down and prosecute rogue traders, community intervention is a valuable asset in tackling doorstep crime. This campaign will help communities to stop rogue traders from getting a foot in the door of those who cannot always stick up for themselves.”
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Anyone who has been targeted by a rogue doorstep trader can also call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline number on 03454 04 05 06.