Gwent officers join national campaign to tackle rogue traders
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The week-long enforcement activity took place between Monday 9 May – Friday 13 May and saw officers from Gwent Police work with local authority partners to target law-breaking traders who prey on vulnerable residents.
The Operation Rogue Trader initiative has been running since 2006 and sees police forces across the country work with trading standards to disrupt and enforce against rogue traders in a week of focused activity.
The aim of the joint operation is to reduce the number of rogue trading incidents, increase road safety and raise public awareness of doorstep crime.
Throughout the week, officers undertook road safety checks as part of the latest Operation Utah activity, went on patrols with local authority partners to tackle licensing breaches and worked with Natural Resources Wales to engage with waste and scrap carriers.
Operation Utah is designed to identify and tackle road users who put other motorists at risk by driving illegally or by driving vehicles not up to a safe standard. This operation saw the police work with partners from the DVSA, DVLA and local councils to undertake checks on the condition of vehicles being used by traders and whether drivers held the necessary licence, insurance and tax documents.
During Rogue Trader Week, neighbourhood policing teams were also out in communities to provide advice and guidance to the public around keeping themselves and their families safe from exploitative traders.
Over the five days of action, Gwent Police worked with partnership agencies to carry out operations and intelligence-led patrols, which resulted in:
2 Vehicles being seized
43 traffic offence reports issued
8 builder/company Information packs issued by Trading Standards
39 immediate Prohibitions issued by DVS and 31 warning notices given to drivers
3 warnings issued by NRW for waste/licensing carrier offences
The local authority identified a scrap collector without the relevant metal collectors’ license and are following this up.
All vehicles stopped throughout the week were spoken to by trading standards and offered advice and education to make sure they are operating legally and following best practise.
Sergeant Lee Stachow said:
"Rogue traders are often opportunistic and unscrupulous, targeting the most vulnerable in our communities for profit.
“Crimes like these can have a huge impact on victims and won’t be tolerated in Gwent.
“It’s vital we prevent, disrupt and enforce against rogue traders and our message to them is simple: whether you’re using vehicles that aren’t fit for the road, exploiting vulnerable customers by charging for unnecessary work, or selling counterfeit goods, we will continue to work with partners to protect the public, find you and bring you to justice.
“We continue to urge people to look out for elderly and vulnerable residents and contact 101 if you suspect rogue trading in your area.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Jeff Cuthbert said: “I am extremely pleased to see such excellent partnership working taking place to help prevent communities from harm. Rogue traders cause emotional and financial devastation to all ages and must be stopped.
“Support for victims is important, so I am delighted that local officers have been working closely with trading standards teams to offer advice and support to victims of rogue traders.
“Thorough vehicle and licensing checks have taken place as part Operation Rogue Trader. All drivers and businesses have a responsibility for making sure their vehicles are in a good roadworthy condition at the start of every journey. By doing this, they can help prevent incidents and keep themselves and other road users safe.”
If in doubt, keep them out | five tips shared by officers throughout the week
1. Never work with cold-callers and don’t be pressured into having unnecessary work carried out.
2. Check the identity of a caller by phoning the company they say they are from. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory rather than those provided independently by the service provider.
3. Never pay cash up front and never go to the bank or cash point with a trader.
4. Always get three quotes from different companies before agreeing to have work done.
5. Discuss any work you feel needs carrying out on your property with a relative or friend who can help you find a reputable trader.