New crackdown launched against callous rogue traders

Police and local trading standards officers are to launch a week-long crackdown on the cold calling conmen who target the elderly and vulnerable.

Operation Monarda will run from Monday (May 22) until May 29, as part of a country-wide initiative aimed at raising awareness of unscrupulous traders who overcharge for unsatisfactory goods or services.

Peter Fergie, assistant trading standards manager for North Lanarkshire Council (pictured) said: “A typical tactic that offenders will use is to provide fake contact details so the householder has no opportunity to get their money back.

“Most alarmingly, the victims are often targeted because they are vulnerable or elderly.”

He added: “Additional high visibility patrols will be carried out by trading standards and police officers to raise awareness and advise local residents about the steps they can take to help prevent them from falling victim to rogue traders.”

He says evidence strongly suggests there are links between those who commit “distraction burglary” and those who are involved in rogue trading.

Tips include checking the identity of the doorstep caller by telephoning the company they claim to be from, using the telephone numbers listed in the local directory or service provider.

People are also advised to discuss any work they feel needs carrying out on their property with a relative or friend who can help them find a reputable trader.

They are also urged not to agree to any work or sign anything on the spot and not to let themselves be pressured into having any work carried out.

People should never to pay cash up front and never go to the bank or cash point with a trader.

Paul Bannister, trading standards manager for North Lanarkshire Council, said; “The impact of rogue traders’ actions in particular can far outweigh any financial loss to the victim, with dramatic effects on quality of life and confidence.

“Rogue traders prey on the most vulnerable in society, conning them out of vast sums of money, which in many cases is their life savings, for unnecessary and overpriced work.

“When someone falls foul of a rogue trading scam, research shows it has a seriously detrimental effect on the victim’s health and their confidence.”