Police warn residents over rogue traders

October 26 2018

A WEEK of events have been held in October to make local residents in North Bristol aware of the risks of doorstep crime and scams.

National Rogue Trader Week began in 2007, following a regional event the previous year. It brings together police and Trading Standards officers across the country to tackle the issue of doorstep crime, which can include fraud, distraction burglary and trading standards offences. 

The week aims to target criminals and raise awareness of common scams and make sure communities know how to keep their homes secure. Officers from Avon and Somerset Police spent time talking to residents and businesses where they gave out copies of the ‘Little Book of Big Scams’ which gives advice on spotting and preventing fraud. 

Thankfully, the force have only had one recorded incident of doorstep crime this year in our area. In May, a man called on an elderly lady offering to do some gardening work and stole cash from her home. 

Commenting on Rogue Trader Week 2018, Chief Inspector Sharon Baker, who co-ordinated the operation, said: "Rogue Traders are unscrupulous cold callers who offer to do work and ask for cash up front, carry it out to a poor standard or not at all, do work unnecessarily, or overcharge.

"Though thankfully this doesn’t happen often, it does disproportionately affect older people – who are more likely to be at home during the day – and can have a significant impact on their wellbeing as well as their finances. We've been giving information on avoiding these scams directly to senior citizens and asking people to look out for their vulnerable family and friends.

"We teamed up with Trading Standards officers to carry out joint patrols across the area. As well as talking to householders where work was being done, we’ve stopped and checked out tradespeople in their vans, offering them advice on consumer law. Reputable tradespeople support our efforts to target the crooks who give the whole profession a bad name."

Residents are asked to help protect any vulnerable relatives or friends by helping them to find reputable tradespeople and sharing police advice. This includes using a door chain, intercom or video doorbell/viewer with unknown or unexpected visitors, checking identification, locking doors while you’re in your garden or another room, and keeping cash in the bank, not at home. In addition, if you’re unsure whether a visitor is genuine, don’t open the door and report it by calling 101, and if you feel threatened or intimidated, call 999 straight away.

Fraudsters can also contact you online or over the phone. For up-to-date information on fraud, visit the Action Fraud’s website: www.actionfraud.police.uk.