OPERATION ROGUE TRADER 2016 – INITIAL RESULTS
An operation targeting doorstep criminals is being hailed a success following proactive activity by Merseyside Police and other partners across Merseyside this week, as part of Operation Rogue Trader.
Officers, working with Trading Standards, the Department of Work and Pensions, Environment Agency, HM Revenue and Customs, the Driving Vehicle Licencing Agency, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, Border Force, Health & Safety Executive, Land Registry, National Benefit Fraud Office, Local Council Environmental Health Departments and Scambusters carried out a number of crime prevention and law enforcement activities in Merseyside to catch those responsible for this type of crime and offer reassurance to local residents.
In St Helens and Newton-le-Willows, more than 10,000 counterfeit illegal cigarettes, 100 bottles of counterfeit wine and spirits, and quantities of illegal sports supplements and diet pills were seized following information received from the community. As a result, an investigation is to be carried out by Trading Standards in relation to three shop premises.
In Knowsley, officers from the Roads Policing Unit, working alongside DVSA and HMRC, stopped a number of vehicles, resulting in arrests and cash and drug seizures. On Monday, 11 April, a van was stopped in Knowsley and £80,000 of cash was located in the vehicle. A further search of the man’s home address in Melling resulted in the recovery of further cash and 4-5 kilos of crack cocaine. A 31-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of money laundering and drug offences and has been bailed pending further inquiries.
On Wednesday, 13 April, a white van was stopped near to Knowsley Heights, and the driver was found to have given false details and was arrested for driving offences.
In Sefton, police surgeries were carried out and crime prevention, and reassurance visits made to local residents and previous victims of rogue trader offences.
In Wirral, officers stopped numerous vehicles, resulting in the issuing of fixed penalty notices. Home security advice, leaflets and reassurance have also been given to residents across Wirral.
Police and Trading Standards have also made joint visits to numerous areas on Merseyside which have been targeted by Rogue Traders, offering reassurance and crime prevention advice to residents and businesses.
Chief Superintendent Peter Costello, head of Local Policing in Merseyside, said: “We have seen some excellent results so far this week, which once again shows the value of Operation Rogue Trader to Merseyside Police and our key partners.
“The aim of Operation Rogue Trader is to work with partners to disrupt rogue traders and, where offences have been committed, put these offenders before the courts. We have worked proactively with numerous partners to achieve these results with great success.
“Not only have our dedicated officers disrupted criminal activity, they also been directly involved in recovering stolen property and arresting suspects, which complements our work targeting serious and organised crime across the force.
“A great deal of work has also been done by our roads policing unit, working alongside the DVLA, in terms of checking vehicles using Merseyside’s roads.
“Officers have also visited vulnerable people and delivered leaflets, and offered reassurance and advice. It is vital that communities are aware how these offenders operate and what can measures can be taken to stop them.”
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