Crackdown on rogue traders

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Crackdown on rogue traders

Police and Trading Standards joined forces last week to tackle rogue trading and other crime as part of a national campaign led by Operation Liberal*.

Officers and staff from Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards were joined by colleagues from VOSA, HMRC, the Environment Agency and local councils during a targeted two days of action at locations in Kettering and Northampton.

The Northamptonshire Police cross border team was also out and about across the county with Trading Standards, targeting hotspot areas.

During the days of action, Police and Trading Standards Officers stopped more than 160 vehicles to carry out checks and spoke to more than 180 tradespeople to give information and advice. Nine vehicles were also seized for various offences, including no insurance or road tax.

Twelve prohibition notices were issued by VOSA for weight offences and various vehicle faults, including tyres, suspension and steering.

Trading Standards issued 50 advisory notices providing traders with information about relevant legislation, while council staff spoke with more than 100 people to give advice about waste permits and fly tipping.

HRMC checked 26 vehicles, seizing one vehicle and making one prosecution for red diesel offences.

Detective Sergeant Abe Smith from the Northamptonshire Police cross border team said: “We have an excellent working relationship with our partners agencies and this week of action has shown the benefits of combining our strength and intelligence in numbers.

“What was refreshing was the positive feedback from our business community; even those who had their vehicles impounded or seized accepted the importance of targeting rogue traders. We will be conducting similar operations throughout the year.”

David Hedger, manager of Northamptonshire County Council Trading Standards, said: “This was a really worthwhile partnership operation which aimed to catch offenders and disrupt their activity as well as highlighting the dangers of rogue trading and doorstep crime.

“Rogue traders often prey on the most vulnerable in society, conning them out of vast sums of money for unnecessary and overpriced work. By working with the police and other partners, operations like this enable us to spread our message and enforcement action far wider than we could alone and I look forward to further operations of this kind.”

* More about Operation Liberal

All police forces in England, Wales and Scotland are members of Operation Liberal, the Police National Intelligence Unit tackling Cross Border Criminality. The unit previously concentrated solely on Door Step Crime which included Distraction Burglary and Rogue Trader offences. The emphasis is now to pro-actively target the offenders and not the offences types. The unit still has the expertise to tackle door step crime and Operation Rogue Trader is still an important week on the calendar. Operation Liberal core business is to now identify key nominals that present the most risk and harm to law enforcement.

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