Police join forces for national day of action to tackle rogue traders

Merseyside Police has teamed up with partners to take part in a national day of action to tackle rogue traders and doorstep crime.

Rogue traders often target vulnerable or elderly members of our community, by cold calling at their addresses, offering to carry out unnecessary work such as gardening or roofing and overcharging for unsatisfactory services or goods.

Rogue traders are often closely linked with the activities of distraction burglars – people who try to gain entry into homes to steal and who often pretend to be an official or a representative from a water / electricity company or even a police officer.

On Wednesday 30 September, officers across the force, working in partnership with Trading Standards, the Land Registry, UK Border Agency, HM Revenue and Customs and other partners, carried out a number of activities in Merseyside to catch those responsible for this type of crime and offer reassurance to local residents.

The activities were part of a week-long crime prevention initiative, Operation Rogue Trader, and ranged from executing warrants, identifying vehicles used by criminals through automatic number plate recognition to conducting intelligence-led patrols in areas where older or vulnerable people live.

Officers, working alongside staff from the DVLA and VOSA carried out roadside checks, in every area of Merseyside targeting commercial vehicles.

Officers have also been out and about all over Merseyside, going out and speaking to vulnerable people about keeping their homes and belongings safe and also giving advice about people who cold call at residents’ homes.

​This is the 10th anniversary of organisations across the UK taking part in a campaign that targets rogue traders and highlights the risk of using cold callers.

​The last Operation Rogue Trader in 2014 saw nearly 400 people arrested nationally, £153,200 worth of property recovered and over 10,000 vehicles inspected.

Chief Superintendent Peter Costello said: “Although most people who call at your home are genuine, some are not and these people often prey on the most vulnerable members of society, stripping people of their savings and in some cases getting people into debt for unnecessary work.

“There are some simple steps people can take to help prevent these types of crimes, but I’d also urge residents to look out for elderly or vulnerable neighbours. If you notice someone suspicious in the area, call the police or contact your local neighbourhood policing team for more advice.”

John McHale, Liverpool City Council’s head of  Licensing and Regulatory Services, said: “We committed officer resources to this important national day of action. Rogue trader partnership activity is a vital tool for consumer protection services and the police to use against unscrupulous rogue traders and distraction burglars. Their activities target vulnerable residents, impact on legitimate business activity and can have a devastating impact on the lives of those they target.”



Officers have also issued crime prevention advice that could help others from becoming victims of such offences:

  • Do not open your door if you are unsure of who the caller is – Always make sure visitors to your home are who they say they are by asking to see their identification. Do not let people into your property that you do not know
  • Always keep the key chain on the door while talking to the caller and check their identity before letting them into your home. Genuine callers will not mind you doing this
  • These types of people may pretend to be an official or may just ask for a drink of water or if they can use the toilet. Remember ‘if in doubt, keep them out’
  • Remember to close and lock the back door before answering the front door. Have a viewer or spy hole and a stout door chain fitted to your door
  • Don’t keep large quantities of cash at home, put it in the bank where it is safe
  • Ensure that if you do let somebody into your home close the door behind them – distraction burglars often work in teams where one will distract you while others sneak in through the insecure door
  • If someone asks for your help (i.e. needs to make a telephone call, lost a ball in your garden, needs a drink or pen and paper) ask a neighbour for help or assist them through a closed door or call a friend or neighbour to come and help.


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