Trading standards and community enforcement officers from Cheshire East Council took part in a nationwide day of action to highlight the risks posed by rogue traders and fraudsters.
‘Operation Hebe’ is a programme led by Cheshire East Council and was the name for the day of activities which took place in the borough last Wednesday.
The council worked with a police mobile unit during the day of activities. Static road blocks were formed in several locations as Cheshire East officers stopped 37 vehicles to make a range of checks – from trading regulations, including waste carrier licences to stolen plant machinery and traffic offences.
No arrests for rogue trading were made on the day but all those stopped were left reassured that Cheshire East and its partners are clamping down on anyone attempting to use vehicles without a relevant licence for fraudulent or criminal means.
Rogue traders regularly profit from defrauding elderly people who often feel pressured into parting with cash by making on the spot decisions. During the day of activities, officers were also on the lookout for fly-tipping offences. Fly-tippers collect and carry waste without the correct licence and illegally dispose of it.
Cheshire East Council is fully behind the battle to reduce fly-tipping with its ‘No rubbish excuses’ campaign, which is already in full swing.
The activities trading standards officers were involved with for ‘Operation Hebe’ came off the back of the recent great success of the conviction of a fraudster, who had nearly conned an elderly lady in Wilmslow out of £25,000.
The advice from police and trading standards officers for all members of the public is:
● Remain vigilant and always check the identity and credentials of anyone who calls at your home offering to carry out work;
● If you are in any doubt as to the identity of the person you should always check directly with the company they are claiming to be from. If the person is genuine they will not mind; and
● Do not agree to anything on the spot, or sign anything and do not feel pressured into having work carried out.
It is also sensible to discuss any work you feel needs carrying out on your property with a relative or a friend who can help find a reputable trader.
Councillor Paul Bates, Cheshire East Council cabinet member for finance and communities, said: “Taking parts in events like this are important as they help to keep up the momentum of the outstanding work our teams are doing and maintaining the trust that we have built with the public.
“It isn’t just about headline arrests, as you cannot always expect immediate success. Rogue traders operating in our borough know that we are very serious about ensuring that those at risk of exploitation are safeguarded and that those responsible for these types of crimes are brought to justice.”