National day of action targets rogue traders

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ROGUE traders and pushy doorstep sellers in Burnley, Pendle and the Ribble Valley are being targeted in a national day of action.

Police and trading standards launched a crackdown on people preying on vulnerable people across the borough.

The action day saw increased police patrols in areas where elderly people live, advice packs distributed to residents, and roadside checkpoints set up.

In the past year, Lancashire Trading Standards received 349 complaints about cold callers, including builders, driveways, roofing and bogus charity collectors. There were 882 complaints received about bogus sales in the same period.

In addition, 456 complaints have been received about unwanted unsolicited scam mail, and 990 complaints have been received about unsolicited scam telephone calls.

Supt Peter O’Dwyer, from Lancashire Constabulary, said: “Rogue traders are not welcome in Lancashire – they prey on vulnerable members of our community, and we have seen them con people out of vast sums of money for work that is substandard, unnecessary and overpriced.

“We hope this operation will catch those responsible, and raise awareness of the dangers of rogue traders and doorstep crime.

“I would urge residents to never agree to have any work done as a result of a cold call.

“Don’t make snap decisions and don’t be pressurised into having the job done. Only pay once work is completed to your satisfaction.”

He said crime levels in the county were at an all time low. He added: “It is our firm intention to ensure they remain that way. We will do all we can to make it difficult for rogue traders to operate in Lancashire.”

County Coun. Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “Tackling bogus traders is a top priority for Trading Standards, and our number one piece of advice is simply never to do business with them.

“If a company uses pressure sales to try to get you to agree to have work done immediately, alarm bells should start ringing.

“Reputable firms will not demand cash up front, and will be happy to come back another day to give you time to think about it and obtain other quotes.

“The county council’s Safe Trader scheme can help you find an honest and reliable trader, so there’s no reason to risk signing up to anything on the doorstep.”

People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

Anyone with information that would lead to the arrest of any distraction burglar or rogue trader should ring Lancashire Constabulary on 0845 1 25 35 45, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.