Cleveland Police Assist in National Crackdown on Rogue Traders

Cleveland Police took part in a national day of action on Wednesday 13th April targeting rogue traders and forceful doorstep sellers across the UK as part of a week-long crime prevention initiative.

A vehicle checkpoint was set up in South Bank by staff from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit alongside the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council Trading Standards Department and the Environment Agency.

One vehicle was seized for having no insurance, one driver was dealt with by HM Revenue and Customs for using red diesel and seven prohibitions were issued for various construction and use offences including faulty brakes, lights and tyres.

Neighbourhood officers have also been distributing leaflets at community events and presentations within shopping centres across Cleveland.

In 2015, Operation Rogue Trader saw over 100 people arrested, £3.1m worth of property recovered and over 5,000 vehicles inspected up and down the country.

Rogue trading is a UK wide problem with evidence suggesting a number of burglars associate with rogue traders. Rogue traders often travel vast distances to commit offences, highlighting why having a national capability such as Operation Liberal is important.

Operation Rogue Trader is led by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit that links associated crimes and gathers intelligence on key nominals and organised crime groups who travel extensively throughout the UK. 

Detective Sergeant Dave Clough said: “Operation Rogue Trader provides a great opportunity for partner agencies to come together to tackle doorstep crime, carry out enforcement activities and raise awareness of the issues.

“Distraction crimes and scams are often linked to overpriced work where the victims are often elderly and on some occasions have been duped out of their life savings.

“We will continue to carry out operations like this whilst criminals continue to prey on the vulnerable and elderly in this way and we would always urge anyone who is approached by cold callers to check their identity, even by calling the relevant company if need be.

“Anyone with information regarding suspicious activity or anyone with concerns regarding criminals undertaking property maintenance to exploit vulnerable and elderly people is asked to contact police on 101.”

It is not illegal for traders to sell at the door. Legitimate callers will not mind if you shut and lock the door while you verify that they are genuine.  Rogue traders often offer gardening work or maintenance services at attractive rates but the quality of work is substandard, unnecessary or overpriced.  They often use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions.

Anyone with information regarding rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.