Keeping the rogue traders at bay

Police and crime news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
Police and crime news from the Peterborough Telegraph - peterboroughtoday.co.uk, @peterboroughtel on Twitter, Facebook.com/peterboroughtoday
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Kate Firman of the Safer Peterborough Partnership

This month I would like to advise you how to keep rogue traders at bay.

In Cambridgeshire we often receive reports about cold callers offering to do outside jobs like gardening work, driveways or roof repairs.

One of my crime reduction officers monitors incidents involving rogue traders and with more than 50 reports in the last six months it is an issue of concern for us.

The incidents include reports of a man demanding hundreds of pounds for cleaning a driveway; a man trying to claim for payment twice for cleaning guttering, men tree cutting and then charging the victim three times the agreed amount; a man receiving over £1,000 to carry out roof repairs and not doing the work - and the list goes on.

In some cases banks have been alert to the fraudulent activity and blocked payments being made and in others family members or neighbours have intervened. The main target for a rogue trader is the elderly.

Please remember, ‘good neighbours, stop rogue traders’. I would urge you to keep an eye on your elderly relatives and neighbours spread the word – do not buy services at the doorstep.

I do understand that it can be difficult to find genuine tradespeople to carry out this sort of manual work. If your home or garden needs work, please use a trader recommended by a neighbour or friend or call the Citizen’s Advice Line on Advice Line: 0344 499 4120 to find a reputable local trader, approved by Trading Standards. Safe Local Trades also vet all their traders.

If you buy something for more than £42 from a doorstep trader, you have 14 days to change your mind and cancel any contract. You should be given notice of your right to cancel in writing. If this doesn’t happen then the trader probably can’t bind you to any agreement.

You can also obtain “no cold calling” stickers to display in your home or a relative’s home relatives from the Citizens Advice Bureau or Trading Standards.

Anyone who feels they have been a victim of a rogue trader should contact their local crime reduction officer for support and advice. It would also be an enormous help to us if you could record details of any suspicious persons or vehicles offering this type of work.

As always if an incident is taking place or has recently taken place then please call the police in the usual way via 101 or 999 if you think it is an emergency.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy and safe New Year.