Cheshire East Council has been working closely with police in Cheshire and the Environment Agency (EA) as part of an operation targeting rogue traders and bogus callers in the Knutsford area.
A day of action took place (Wednesday, April 24) with teams patrolling the A50 in High Legh and Mobberley Road (B5085) – both known to be major routes for traders in and out of Knutsford. There were also two ‘roaming patrols’ targeting suspected hotspots.
Roadside checks, using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology, were used along both routes, with officers stopping vehicles to make a range of checks. This included trading documentation and identification, the use of illegal diesel, waste carrier licenses and traffic offences.
If traders were transporting any tools or plant equipment, this too was checked to ensure it wasn’t stolen.
Officers also conducted spot-checks at homes where it was obvious work was being carried out. Traders were checked to ensure they were following current legislation and the householder was asked if they were pleased with the work and if they thought they had been treated fairly.
During the course of the day consumer protection and investigation officers:
- Spoke to 60 traders/ businesses;
- Made 17 trade association checks (e.g. Gas, FENSA);
- Spoke to seven residents, who were having work done, with checks made;
- Handed out numerous business advice packs and promoted the Buy with Confidence scheme to businesses; and
- Is carrying out further investigations into a charity clothing collector and a false trade association.
In addition, the police stopped 48 vehicles for a variety of motoring offences and prosecuted one person for driving without insurance.
The EA gave out seven advice and guidance packs around waste carrying.
This is the third year that multi-agency operations to tackle rogue traders have been carried out in Cheshire East.
With a higher-than-average ageing population, the Borough’s residents are seen as more vulnerable to doorstep crime.
This is where residents are preyed upon by rogue traders, who charge large amounts of money for carrying out little or no work. In many cases the work is not even required.
Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member in charge of communities and regulatory services, said: “High-profile operations such as this are vital in keeping up the pressure on rogue traders in Cheshire East.
“I am pleased that we have managed to speak to so many businesses and carried out a number of checks.
“We want residents to feel confident when purchasing goods and secure in the knowledge that traders are law-abiding. These partnership operations go a long way to easing people’s fears as well as supporting legitimate traders.”
PC Andrew Baker, of Knutsford neighbourhood policing team, said: "During the operation, a number of traders passing through the area were stopped and checks were made to ensure that they were genuine and in keeping with the law.
"This resulted in a number of positive results and a large amount of valuable intelligence was gathered.
“The operation showed the benefit of joint agency working between Cheshire East Council and Cheshire police.
“We would like to thank any traders who were stopped during the course of the day for their patience and understanding.”