‘Not sure? Don′t open the door!′ is the key message being driven by National Rogue Trader Week to prevent the public from becoming a victim of doorstep crime. The national campaign is being supported by Cheshire Police and runs from 22-26 April.
This week is an opportunity for police, Trading Standards and other agencies to raise awareness about doorstep crime and to reassure the public that it will not be tolerated. Residents are urged to be alert to this type of crime, which includes those who go door-to-door offering unnecessary, overpriced or substandard gardening or maintenance work.
The campaign is being led by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality, as well as Trading Standards. The unit monitors intelligence on known criminals and organised crime groups who travel extensively throughout the UK to commit crimes.
Peter Goodman is the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for Operation Liberal. He stated: "Rogue traders prey on the most vulnerable in society, conning them out of vast sums of money which in many cases are their life savings, for unnecessary and overpriced work."
The offenders often travel large distances in order to commit crime and evidence suggests that there are links between rogue traders and those who commit distraction burglaries.
Detective Superintendent Geraint Jones said: "National Rogue Trader Week provides an opportunity for us to help the public recognise doorstep crime and to encourage them to report it.
"Many door-to-door sellers are genuine, however, it is important that residents check the identity of any cold callers and do not allow themselves to be pressured into any sales that they are unsure about.
"Doorstep crime can have a devastating impact on victims, both financially and emotionally, and will not be tolerated in Cheshire.
"We urge the public to report any incidents of this nature to police on 101, or 999 if there is a crime in progress."
Tips to avoid doorstep crime
- Always check the identity of the doorstep caller by telephoning the company they are claiming to be from. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory
- Check whether traders are members of the Local Authority Assured Trader Schemes or the Government Trust Mark Scheme
- Discuss any work you feel needs carrying out on your property with a relative or friend who can help you find a reputable trader
- Don′t agree to anything on the spot, or sign anything. Please also do not feel pressured into having any work carried out
- Never pay cash upfront and don′t ever go to the bank or cash point with a trader
Anyone with any information about rogue traders is urged to contact Cheshire Police on 101, or 999 if there is a crime in progress.