Operation Liberal targeting rogue traders

15 Apr 2016 00:00 AM

Op Liberal seizure 13.4.16 [View Full Size]

Police have led a crackdown on rogue traders across the North East as part of Operation Liberal.


As part of Operation Liberal officers from the Op Dragoon team took to the roads on Wednesday (13/4) to carry out stop check vehicles in a number of hot spot areas across the force.


They were joined by officials from Trading Standards and the DVLA to check whether the vehicles were roadworthy and that they were not holding any suspected stolen items.


In total there were 47 vehicles stop checks which resulted in


1 x Arrest for drug driver


4 x S165 uplifts for no insurance, all vans


5 x summons for no insurance


14 x defective vehicles (prohibited further use at roadside)


2 x benefit fraud offences identified


4 x new companies identified for Trading Standards purposes


6 x words of advice given by Trading Standards regarding working practises


Operation Liberal also saw the force's crime prevention team working with banks and supermarkets to help provide advice to the public about how to protect themselves from rogue traders and bogus callers.


Northumbria Police erected a stall in Intu Eldon Square where people were able to speak to officers and bank officials about any concerns or queries they had about rogue traders.


Rogue traders who 'cold call' residents without any prior appointment, can claim to be roofers, gardeners, or mattress or fish sellers and bogus officials, charging for unnecessary work.


Some can damage property deliberately to obtain money, leaving work unfinished and behaving in an intimidating way to extort money.


Detective Inspector Jane Fairlamb said: "This operation demonstrates that we take this type of crime seriously and that fraudsters or rogue traders will not be tolerated in our force area. We want to reassure people that we will tackle these offenders and put them before the courts.


"If someone knocks at your door trying to sell you items be careful about what you are agreeing to. If an offer sounds too good to be true then it probably is.


"Never let anyone in your home who you are unsure about and report any suspicious callers to police straight away. Also any details of a description of a vehicle, direction of travel or an associated registration number plate is always helpful.


"As always we would ask all residents to remain vigilant at all times in relation callers claiming to be officials, making sure to check identity cards, which should include a photograph of the caller and details of the company."


Motor Patrols Chief Inspector John Heckels, head of Op Dragoon, said: "This operation was a great example of partnership working and will act as a real statement to anyone who thinks it is okay to prey on vulnerable people in our region.


"A large part of work being done by Op Dagoon is liaising with local officers to gather intelligence on criminals operating within the north east and taking action to put them before the courts.


"Operation Liberal is another example of this in action and Op Dragoon will continue to carry out targeted patrols across the north east and seize any vehicles that don't belong on our roads."


Northumbria Police also advices that it is not illegal for traders to sell at the door, however legitimate callers will not mind if you shut and lock the door while you verify that they are genuine.


Rogue traders often offer gardening work or maintenance services at attractive rates but the quality of work is substandard, unnecessary or overpriced.  They often use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions.


Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any doorstep offender or rogue trader should contact police on 101 or call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111


Further advice is available by searching "Northumbria Crime Prevention" online or following @NorthumbriaPol #Crimeprevention #roguetrader2016.

View the full news release