Two people were arrested for immigration offences during a day of action by Sutton Council Trading Standards and the police last week.
The day of action on Wednesday 30 September was part of a borough-wide crime prevention initiative that saw Sutton Council Trading Standards officers join forces with the police and officers from HM Revenue and Customs across the borough for Operation Rogue Trader. The operation was carried out to prevent innocent people from becoming victims of crime by catching forceful doorstep sellers and unscrupulous people offering building and gardening services.
Sutton Trading Standards officers also distributed copies of the Safer Sutton Trader Scheme List to residents and traders to guide residents when they are considering employing a tradesperson. The list has been thoroughly vetted by Trading Standards and offers a range of bona fide tradespeople in the borough and can be downloaded from the Sutton Council website at https://www.sutton.gov.uk/info/200548/business_regulation/1327/trading_standards
The Police also set up a Mobile Reassurance Unit on Sutton High Street to offer advice, information and reassurance to borough residents.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Nick Emmerson, lead member forTrading Standards on Sutton Council, said: “Helping to protect our communities from unscrupulous traders is at the heart of the work of Sutton’s Trading Standards team. Our interventions and prosecutions disrupt criminal activity. We urge anyone needing a tradesperson to use our Safer Sutton Trader Scheme List which offers a range of bona fide tradespeople.”
Safer Neighbourhoods Sergeant Tom Craik added: “This operation is all about Trading Standards, Police and HM Revenue and Customs working together to check that builders who work in Sutton Borough are genuine and legitimate.
“This partnership working is to protect our residents, particularly those that are elderly and vulnerable, from tricksters and fraudsters who may charge excessive amounts, or charge upfront, and then not carry out any or only some of the work.”
It is not illegal for traders to sell at the door. Legitimate callers will not mind if you shut and lock the door while you verify that they are genuine. Rogue traders often offer gardening work or maintenance services at attractive rates but the quality of work is substandard, unnecessary or overpriced. They often use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions.
Rogue trading is a UK-wide problem with evidence suggesting a number of burglars associate with rogue traders. Rogue traders often travel vast distances to commit offences, highlighting why having a national capability such as Operation Rogue Trader is important.
Operation Rogue Trader was part of Operation Liberal, a UK-wide initiative that saw Trading Standards and the Police work with the Department of Work and Pensions, the Environment Agency, the DVLA, the DVSA, the UK Border Agency and Scambusters. The last Operation Rogue Trader in 2014 saw nearly 400 people arrested nationally, £153,200 worth of property recovered and more than 10,000 vehicles inspected.
People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.
Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any doorstep offender or rogue trader should ring their local police or call Crimestoppers, the national charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111.