“If in doubt, keep them out” say Gwent Police, as national operation to crack down on rogue traders comes to a close
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The week-long enforcement activity saw officers work with local authority partners to tackle those who prey on vulnerable residents.
The Operation Rogue Trader initiative has been running since 2006 and sees police forces work with trading standards services and partners to disrupt and enforce against rogue traders.
Rogue trading refers to the practice of deliberately overcharging for unsatisfactory goods and services and can include charging for unnecessary work, damaging property with the aim of obtaining money or leaving work unfinished and then using intimidating behaviour to extort more money out of homeowners.
Gwent Police also work with partners to identify traders putting motorists and pedestrians at risk by driving illegally, or using vehicles that aren’t safe.
Between Monday 11 October and Friday 15 October, officers covering Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Caerphilly undertook road safety checks as part of the latest Operation Utah activity, went on proactive patrols with local authority partners to tackle licensing breaches and worked with Natural Resources Wales to engage with waste and scrap carriers.
Local neighbourhood policing teams were also out in communities providing advice and guidance on how the public can keep themselves and their families safe from exploitative traders.
Over the five days, our Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen officers worked with partner agencies to crack down on rogue traders and, as part of their operation, saw the following results:
116 vehicles stopped and checked (vehicle safety and licensing)
3 vehicles seized under Sct 165 Road Traffic Act
1 driver reported for driving while disqualified
18 traffic offence reports (TORs) issued, including reports for insecure loads, defective tyres or brakes, driving without insurance, driving without wearing a seatbelt and MOT offences
34 builders/companies visited and issued with information packs by Trading Standards
37 drivers issued with immediate prohibition notices by the DVSA
13 warnings issued to waste carriers for licensing breaches
10 taxis stopped and engaged with.
Sergeant Lee Stachow said:
"Doorstep crime can have a huge impact on victims, so it’s vital we prevent, disrupt and enforce against rogue traders – this has been our goal throughout the week.
“Our message to rogue traders is a simple one: whether you’re using vehicles that aren’t fit for the road or exploiting vulnerable customers by charging for unnecessary work, we will continue to work with partners to protect the public, find you and bring you to justice.”
Five top tips shared by officers throughout the week
Never work with cold-callers and don’t be pressured into having work carried out.
Check the identity of a caller by phoning the company they are purporting to be from. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory those provided independently by a service provider.
Never pay cash up front and never go to the bank or cash point with a trader.
Always get three quotes before agreeing to have work done.
Discuss any work you feel needs carrying out on your property with a relative or friend who can help you find a reputable trader.