Cops and councils join forces to tackle rogue traders

PICTURE TOBY WILLIAMS:  07920841392. COLD CALLING TO THE DOORSTEP, SELLING, OLD PEOPLE/ PENSIONERS.
PICTURE TOBY WILLIAMS: 07920841392. COLD CALLING TO THE DOORSTEP, SELLING, OLD PEOPLE/ PENSIONERS.
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DOORSTEP criminals are being cracked down on, as councils and police join forces to tackle the ongoing problem of rogue traders who prey on the more vulnerable in local communities.

Fortnight-long Operation Bionic (until last Friday, September 28) across Central Scotland has seen visits to builders, roofers, gardeners and window cleaners working on residential properties.

Details have been recorded and checks made to ensure they are legitimate, in a bid to reduce fear of bogus 
workers, plus support proper businesses and gather intelligence in the fight against doorstep crime.

Falkirk Council’s environment and community safety convener, Councillor Dr Craig R Martin said: “There are some horrific examples in our communities of how rogue traders have ripped off consumers to the tune of thousands of pounds.

“We, along with our partner agencies, are determined to stop these individuals and wherever possible, prosecute them to the fullest extent.”

Sergeant Brian Park said Central Scotland Police was pleased to support the partnership approach, that has also included agencies like the Department of Work and Pensions.

“It focuses on protecting some of the more vulnerable people in our society and promotes public confidence on how these incidents are dealt with in our communities.”

Recent examples have included a travelling trader giving a bogus Bo’ness address, who took £900 payment for a driveway/pavement resurfacing job in Renfrewshire that started out as a £5 repair.

The work was unfinished and the culprit cannot be traced.

And one Falkirk resident was frightened by an unscrupulous salesman into buying windows for better security.

Trading standards officers advise, when dealing with doorstep traders, to always get two/three written quotes before agreeing to any work, and to ask family and friends for recommendations.

They say if an offer appears too good to be true, it probably is.

*Call Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06 and check out trading standards at www.falkirk.gov.uk