Police forces and partner organisations throughout the UK have joined forces this week as part of Operation Liberal, a national campaign targeting rogue traders.
This is the 12th year that organisations, as part of a multi-agency campaign, have targeted rogue traders and highlight the dangers that consenting to have work carried out by cold callers can bring.
The last Rogue Trader Operation in 2016 saw nearly 300 people arrested, and nearly £3 million worth of property recovered and over 5,000 vehicles inspected nationally.
This week, Gwent Police in conjunction with partners including HMRC, VOSA, DVLA, Trading Standards, UK Border Agency and the Fire Service have been gathering intelligence, offering crime prevention advice delivering leaflets and carrying out vehicle checks across Gwent.
The results of the activity in Gwent so far include:
- 42 vehicles checked
- 4 vehicles seized for no insurance
- 4 drivers reported for traffic offences
- 2 HMRC fines issued for red diesel – one £532 the other £549
- 1 vehicle seized by DVLA for having no tax
- VOSA – 8 satisfactory checks
- VOSA – 5 prohibition notices i.e. unsafe and taken off the road
- HMRC – 58 drivers checked and HMRC enquiries are on-going.
- Trading Standards issued five £200 fines for work vehicles failing to display no- smoking badges.
- 4 companies are being investigated by Trading Standards
- 2 drug wipe tests were conducted- negative results
- A van displaying Corgi registered stickers however enquiries revealed his Corgi licence was fraudulent and he had no insurance on his vehicle. Reported for driving with no insurance and trading standards are progressing the Corgi licensing issues
Inspector Rob Jenkins from Gwent Police said: “Doorstep crime has a detrimental impact on victims, many of whom are the most vulnerable in their communities and we are committed to preventing, disrupting and enforcing against these kinds of criminals.
"Partnership working is key to the success of campaigns such as Op Liberal and also to raise awareness of the steps people can take to protect themselves and their properties from rogue traders."
“I would urge members of the public who have been victims of such callers or traders, or who perhaps have friends, neighbours or family members who have been targeted to contact police on 999 in an emergency or 101 if the call is less urgent. The simple message is to always say 'no' to any traders who unexpectedly turn up on your doorstep offering to carry out work.”
Tim Day, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute lead officer for doorstep crime said: “Trading Standards Services throughout the UK continue to combat the crimes associated with cold calling home maintenance traders and professional doorstep fraudsters.
“Working closely with partners in the Police and Adults Social Care on interventions, Trading Standards ensures those at risk of victimisation and exploitation are safeguarded and those responsible for the crimes are brought to justice.”
Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any doorstep offender or rogue trader should ring their local police or call Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111. Residents can also contact the Trading Standards department of their local council.