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Operation Rogue Trader

Last week saw Waltham Forest Council’s Trading Standards team take part in Operation Rogue Trader, visiting over 50 properties in the borough where they observed work being carried out.

The annual week of activity is co-ordinated across the country by Operation Liberal, the national distraction burglary intelligence unit, the Trading Standards Institute and the Association of Chief Police Officers.

It aims to take action to target rogue traders as part of a week-long national enforcement and awareness initiative, and here in Waltham Forest Trading Standards Officers were out and about in the borough advising residents of their consumer rights.

Where workmen and traders were found working on the premises, contractual obligations were discussed and paperwork and business practices examined. Printed information packs were left with residents and traders to keep, in addition to publicity being sent in advance to local libraries and information centres.

The initiative was aimed at increasing awareness amongst residents of doorstep crime. Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who cold-call householders, often targeting vulnerable residents, claiming to be a bona fide business and purporting to offer services.

The most common rogue trader will be associated with buildings maintenance and repair and all too often the offenders will charge excessive fees for work that may be either sub-standard or in some cases non-existent.

Across the UK, police forces, trading standards officials and partner agencies have undertaken a wide range of work to identify and arrest rogue traders, to disrupt the activity of rogue trading and to make communities aware of this type of crime.

That includes everything from carrying out works vehicle checks and inspecting local employers, to recovering property and delivering crime prevention messages.

Trading Standards also worked with the Police stopping trade vehicles to ensure that business documents given to consumers complied with trading standards legislation. Deputy Chief Constable Peter Goodman, strategic director of Operation Liberal, said: “I’m delighted that Waltham Forest has been participating in Operation Rogue Trader this week.

“The Operation has become a well-established week of partnership activity, co-ordinated by Operation Liberal and the Trading Standards Institute. Rogue trading is a pattern of offending which deliberately targets the most vulnerable members of our communities, and most often the elderly.”

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