Rogue trader crackdown in national day of action

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ROGUE traders and pushy doorstep sellers were targeted across South Yorkshire as part of a UK-wide day of action.

South Yorkshire Police joined forces with a raft of officials from Trading Standards and Government agencies to crack down on cold callers pressuring people into making doorstep sales, and rogue traders carrying out sub-standard, extortionate or unnecessary work.

Last year Consumer Direct received more than 13,000 complaints about uninvited traders calling at homes touting for trade.

The operation focused on criminals who use the county’s road network, with police officers using Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras to identify known or suspected offenders.

Stop-check sites were set up in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster for vehicles to be examined, with police officers on the look-out for rogue traders, burglars, metal thieves and those who commit vehicle crime.

Officers targeted hotspot areas targeted by criminals, where PCSOs called at homes to offer crime prevention advice and patrol ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ already set up across the county.

Yesterday’s crackdown formed part of Operation Liberal, the national police distraction burglary intelligence unit, which monitors intelligence on known criminals and organised crime groups who travel across the country to commit offences.

Detective Chief Inspector Sean Middleton, leading the operation in South Yorkshire, said: “Door-to-door crime has a massive impact on the lives of local residents and the livelihoods of local businesses and legitimate traders. All too often, it’s elderly or vulnerable people who fall victim to doorstep crime and this can’t be allowed to happen.

“The action people can take is simple and could save a lot of financial and emotional difficulty - if you’re not sure, don’t open the door. You might be wise to this type of offending but we want to make sure that your parents, grandparents and other friends or relatives are wise too.”

Trading Standards Institute’s chief executive Ron Gainsford said: “Unscrupulous rogues and distraction burglars can have a devastating impact on peoples’ lives and their activities are often linked to a vast network of crime.”

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