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Thursday, 28 August 2014

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Cumbria police pledge to crack down on rogue traders

Police have warned they will not give up targeting rogue traders as they work to clear the streets of conmen.

Sgt Richard Farnworth photo
Sgt Richard Farnworth

A joint operation between officers from Cumbria Community Policing Unit and Trading Standards took place this week where spot-checks were carried out across Allerdale.

The crime-busting team carried out checks on 10 traders in Flimby, Keswick, Silloth and Wigton as part of the exercise and the information that was provided is currently being examined.

The operation has been ongoing for the past three weeks.

It started with the two teams speaking to local banks and advising them to speak to any vulnerable customers who had withdrawn large amounts of cash – which could have been used to pay the conmen.

Leaflets and posters were then produced which were sent out to local trade centres, and on Wednesday checks were carried out on traders.

Sergeant Richard Farnworth, from West Community Policing Unit, said that the criminals prey on the most vulnerable people in society – the elderly and infirm.

“They use high-pressured techniques to gain entry to their homes, conning them in undertaking work that is not necessary or required,” he said.

“Our aim is to help protect vulnerable members of our communities and ensure that they have the confidence to say no and shut the door,” he added.

He did, however, stress that not all cold callers are criminals and that those who are legitimate will be willing to show identification, provide contact details of their business, and not pressurise people into trying to let them into their homes.

And Sgt Farnworth has warned rogue traders that the fight to stamp them out is not over and there will be follow-up spot-checks carried out across west Cumbria.

There were 45 checks carried out across Cumbria on Wednesday as part of a UK-wide day of action.

In the last 12 months the county council’s trading standards team has received around 300 reports of cold calling or rogue trading. On-going early interventions has saved residents in the county more than £100,000.

To complain about a trader or report illegal doorstep activities call Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

Or, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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