In line with a national campaign, local police will be working with colleagues from Lancashire’s Trading Standards, HM Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency to tackle criminals who victimise vulnerable people such as the elderly, by pressuring them into having unnecessary and poor standard work undertaken at their homes, charging extortionate fees for the work.
Warrants will be executed across Lancashire and officers will be visiting those believed to be involved in rogue trading, and previous victims and those at a potential risk of being defrauded will be visited and given advice on how to avoid becoming affected.
Roadside checkpoints have been set up throughout the county, crime prevention presentations will also be hosted at community venues and leaflets will be handed out at building merchants to share safety messages.
Chief Inspector Mike Adamson, said: “Rogue traders are criminals who take advantage of householders by using high-pressure, forceful sales techniques. The work is often expensive, sub-standard and not required at all.
“This kind of criminality is often linked to distraction burglaries, which is carried out by an offender gaining access to a property by distracting or deceiving the householder in order to steal their valuables or cash.
“During 2014 there were 55 domestic distraction burglaries, and of these 23 involved the cover story of being a workman or builder in order to gain entry and steal property.
“We hope that this operation will catch those responsible and raise awareness of the dangers of rogue traders and doorstep crime so there are even less of these incidents."
The public are advised to:
- Never agree to have any work done as a result of a cold call. Don’t make snap decisions and don’t be pressurised into having the job done.
- Only pay once work is completed to your satisfaction. Don’t pay cash and don’t pay money up front for trader’s materials.
- Check the identity of all callers to your home. Ask for photo identification and check carefully with the telephone number in the phone book, not the number on the ID.
- Remember it is not illegal to sell at the door and legitimate callers will not mind if you shut and lock the door while you verify that they are genuine.