Trading Standards Officers from Cumbria County Council joined forces with Cumbria Police on Wednesday 21 September as part of North West National Rogue Trader Day – aimed at tackling rogue practices and raising awareness of the dangers linked to engaging with cold-callers who knock on doors.
Officers participated in multi-agency road stop checks in Barrow, Carlisle, Penrith and Workington and conducted mobile patrols in areas where rogue traders have previously targeted vulnerable residents, talking to local businesses, carrying out checks on vehicles and confirming that any accreditation claims were genuine.
Eighty-five businesses were approached and advised about general selling practices and the law in relation to contracts for work made in the home. Whilst most were found to be compliant, 5 businesses were unaware of statutory cancellation notices that are required to be given to consumers in a written format, allowing a 14-day cooling off period when agreeing for work to be carried out.
Carlisle officers also responded to complaints regarding TV’s being sold from the back of a van in the city centre. Intelligence suggests that victims often discover the televisions are of a lower value than previously shown and maybe broken.
Residents in Penrith attended a community engagement event organised by Cumbria Police and Trading Standards and guidance was provided on how to avoid door step callers and scams.
Both Services would like to remind Cumbrian residents to exercise extreme caution when approached by any cold callers offering to sell goods or carry out house repairs or gardening work.
Councillor Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet member for Trading Standards, said: “It’s crucial to raise awareness of doorstep crime and help prevent innocent people from falling victim to these criminals. This day of action provides a platform to educate traders and deter doorstep crime in our communities.”
“Rogue traders, doorstep fraudsters and scammers prey on the most vulnerable in society. Working closely with the Police and other agencies means we can intervene sooner and safeguard potential victims.”
Sgt Jonathan Kelly from Cumbria Police Economic Crime Unit added: “Operation Rogue Trader is a great opportunity for us to tackle and raise awareness of the issue of illegitimate traders.
“In Cumbria there have been numerous examples of cold calling criminals looking to exploit vulnerable and elderly home owners.
“We will continue to carry out operations like this and remind the public to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or concerns about an individual offering to carry out work to the relevant agency.”
The message from Trading Standards Services is to say no to cold callers, use known, local trades people and discuss home improvements with your family.
If you suspect someone of being a rogue trader or find yourself accosted by uninvited doorstep sellers, contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133