Rogue traders and distraction burglars
Rogue traders and distraction burglars have been targeted through a multi agency initiative.
Kent Police and Trading Standards from both Kent County Council and Dartford Borough Council, alongside partner agencies, have carried out roadside stop checks on vehicles and traders across the county as part of a national campaign.
Road checks occurred in Dartford and intelligence led patrolling happened in Whitstable and Herne Bay. The aim was to disrupt any suspicious or illegal activity and give advice where necessary to both genuine traders and members of the public.
National Rogue Trader Day of Action took place on Wednesday 24th April 2013 to identify doorstep traders that carry out substandard work and can demand huge amounts of money. These are high value fraud offences and they particularly prey on the vulnerable and elderly.
Kent Police's Inspector Terry Newman of the Partnership and Crime Reduction unit says:
“There have been a few incidents recently where members of the public have been victims of rogue traders.
“A woman who had lost her bank cards the previous day was contacted by people claiming to be from the police asking for her PIN, thankfully she refused.
“Another example involves two men who are reported to have knocked at the door of a flat, explaining that the flat above had a leak and that they needed to come in and turn off the water. When the men left, the victim noticed that jewellery was missing.
“We worked with our partner agencies today to stop traders and check that they are who they say they are, using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).
"Traders are reminded of various pieces of legislation, including that it is an offence not to include their name and address on business paperwork such as invoices, quotes and receipts."
Kent police also played a role in convicting four men who had been posing as police officers to take money from unsuspecting motorists.
The four men were sentenced to 18 years between them.
Inspector Newman added: “We are committed to protecting vulnerable members of the community by showing rogue traders operating in Kent the red card.
“Residents should feel safe when they employ a contractor, but rogue traders cause unnecessary distress through poor workmanship and bad practices.
“Our advice is simple, if you’re not sure, don’t open the door”.
Reduce the risk of being a victim
To try and minimise your risk of employing a rogue trader:
Do not deal with doorstep callers offering work on your home or garden
Use reputable traders who are members of Buy with Confidence, Medway Fairtraders Scheme, Trust a Trader or the Gas Safe Register
Check that the tradesperson is from the company they say they are from
Ask for quotes in writing
Ring more than three traders to get a feel for an average price for the job
Remember traders must give you written notice of your right to seven days cancellation when agreeing to do work at your home, including work gained from a cold call
For details of approved traders visit www.buywithconfidence.info. You can also call Consumer Direct on 08454 040 506 for details of Buy with Confidence or if you have experienced any problems with rogue traders. Trading Standards is also involved with the setting up of Cold Calling Control Zones in the county, aimed at stopping people being targeted in the first place."
Crime prevention schemes
There are 'Cold Calling Controlled Zones' in operation around the country to protect older and vulnerable people from traders who call at properties without warning. Street signs are displayed notifying cold callers that they are not welcome and their identification will be checked. Residents are also given door stickers and crime prevention advice.
Kent Police supports the county's Neighbourhood Watch and its 'nominated neighbour' scheme. Homeowners can hold up a card giving details of a nominated neighbour to traders they do not know. This neighbour can then check the trader's details and return them to the homeowners if they are legitimate.
To join Neighbourhood Watch or the `nominated neighbour' scheme, or if you are concerned about any policing issues in your community, contact your local neighbourhood officer. To find out who your local officer is, visit www.kent.police.uk and enter your postcode. Alternatively, call Kent Police on 01622 690690 or Kent Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.
What to do if you've experienced poor quality work
If you have experienced poor quality work, or feel you've been misled about the condition of your home and the cost or extent of repairs, please contact your local Consumer Direct. You do not have to give your name.
Kent and Medway residents can call Consumer Direct on 08454 040506, who will pass on information to Trading Standards’ Kent office. Alternatively, visit http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/Kent/or
http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/Medway/ and complete the online form.
Posted on 26 Apr 2013 by admin