Crackdown on doorstep rogues
Doorstep scammers and rogue traders in Buckinghamshire were targeted during a joint Trading Standards and Police crackdown on Wednesday (May 10).
Teams of Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards officers and Thames Valley Police patrolled the county's rogue trader hot spots, and ran checks in the Wycombe area using automatic number plate recognition. Officers challenged nine doorstep traders, made 12 person checks, and stopped eight suspect vehicles.
Trading Standards Manager Lee Ormandy said in 2016/17 more than 100 rogue trader and doorstep scam incidents were reported in Buckinghamshire, although this figure could be much higher, as it's known only around 10% of cases are actually reported.
Driveways, gardening and roofing account for the top three scams by rogue traders in Buckinghamshire, the highest value being a £20,000 roofing fraud in Gerrards Cross.
Lee said: “Rogue traders spell misery for residents and undermine genuine businesses, and our day of action with the police sends a clear message to conmen that they’re not welcome in Buckinghamshire."
While there are no firm Trading Standards estimates of the recent cost of scamming to Buckinghamshire residents, Lee said that where incidents were reported early, intervention by officers had saved victims more than £55,000 in the past year.
And from previous years, some victims will get some of their money back. In February, Aylesbury Crown Court Judge Francis Sheridan imposed a confiscation order of more than £241,000 on businessman Gary Booker, who laundered some of the hundreds of thousands of pounds scammed from two elderly Buckinghamshire residents in 2013 for roofing work worth barely £600.
Steve Ruddy, Head of Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards, said: “The initiative was a key part of our work to make the lives of cold-calling criminals difficult and raise awareness of their tactics but joint work with the police and other organisations carries on throughout the year.”
If you’ve been targeted by a rogue trader, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06