Operation will tackle problem of rogue traders

POLICE are taking on rogue traders who target home-owners with high pressure sales techniques.

Officers from a number of districts have linked up with local authorities, Trading Standards and the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA) in roadside checks and have also been out with PCSOs and police cadets spreading the word around the county’s towns and villages.

The action ties in with the national Operation Rogue Trader Week.

The operation is aimed at disrupting criminals who masquerade as legitimate traders in order to target vulnerable, largely elderly, residents in all communities. The event is co-ordinated by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality and supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)

Rogue traders are criminals who take advantage of householders by using high-pressure sales techniques. The work is often expensive, sub-standard and not required at all.

Rogue trading is often linked to distraction burglary, which is carried out by an offender who gains access to a property by distracting or deceiving the householder in order to steal valuables or cash.

PC Dave Lyons said: “Operation Rogue Trader started in the Midlands in 2006 and has grown to be supported by nearly all of the police forces in England and Wales.

“While the messages have remained broadly similar, the criminals are always coming up with something new and it’s important that we keep people alert to the problems and advised of the ways that these crooks are using to defraud them.

“They do prey on the most vulnerable members of our community, so please make sure that your elderly relatives, friends and neighbours are aware not only of the scams that might take place on their phones or through their postbox and the problems of people turning up on their doorsteps and alarming them into having unnecessary work done in their homes and gardens.

““If you are suspicious of anyone calling or visiting your home or you see something going on in your neighbourhood that you’re not happy about, please call Sussex Police on 101.”