Crackdown on rogue traders as police join forces with trading standards

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Police have been taking action to target rogue traders as part of a week-long national enforcement and awareness initiative.

The crackdown has seen action across the county including Bedford borough, Biggleswade and Central Beds.

Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who cold-call householders, often targeting vulnerable residents, claiming to be a bona fide business and purporting to offer services, most commonly buildings maintenance and repair.

The offenders charge excessive fees for the work, yet the work that is carried out is either substandard or not carried out at all.

All last week Bedfordshire officers were joined by trading standards officials and partner agencies inn a wide range of work to disrupt the activity of rogue trading and to make communities aware of this type of crime.

DCI Juliette Everett who coordinated the week long initiative said: “Tackling rogue traders this week has been a priority; unscrupulous rogues and distraction burglars can have a devastating impact on people’s lives, and their activities are often linked to a vast network of crime. Partnership working is an integral part of tackling the scourge of rogue traders – work that is carried out relentlessly by numerous agencies throughout the year.

Initiatives like Operation Rogue Trader provide an important opportunity to raise awareness and to empower consumers to say no to cold-callers.

“Remember, doorstep crime is not only restricted to driveway work, gardening, roofing and guttering scams, these criminals will also make a telephone call first to make appointments to sell other products or services, including overpriced mobility aids, beds, alarm systems, solar panels and more.”

• Activity across Bedfordshire included PCSO’s visiting local car boot sales with objective of targeting any potential rogue traders.

• Visits by Central Beds Community Safety Partnership and officers visiting scrap dealers and vehicles containing scrap metal.

• Bedford Borough Council Trading Standards targeting rogue builders and rogue car dealers.

• ANPR units were deployed in north and central Bedfordshire to target vehicles carrying our gardening work or canvassing for such work. While on patrol the ANPR officers arrested three men on suspicion of theft of a large amount of meat from Sainsbury’s in Biggleswade that had just been stolen.

• Bedfordshire Police were in Biggleswade Market Square between 9am – 12 noon (April 10) providing information to businesses and residents to raise levels of awareness.

• A further 64 homes were visited in The Baulk, Biggleswade with leaflets delivered along with “No Cold Calling” window stickers.

• 75 residents in the villages of Northill and Ickwell, both of which had expressed concerns recently about the increase in thefts in the area were also visited.