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Rogue traders targeted in national day of action

Rogue traders and pushy doorstep sellers are being targeted in Dorset as part of a nationwide day of action today – Wednesday, 19 October 2011.

The day of action is being led by the police service and trading standards and has seen police officers, trading standards officers and members of government agencies join forces.

Residents in Dorset may receive a letter through their doors informing them that Dorset Police and local Trading Standards officers have been actively targeting rogue traders in their area.

The letter provides key crime prevention and safety advice in relation to doorstep sellers, including:

  • Always remember to put the chain on the door before opening it.
  • Do not phone any telephone number provided by the caller, it could be bogus. Always check the caller’s identity by phoning the number in the telephone book. Shut the door and get them to wait outside. A genuine caller will be happy to wait.
  • Never agree to any work offered on the doorstep, always get three quotes for work and, if possible, get recommendations from friends and family.
  • If you feel scared or threatened by a caller at your door then call the police on 999. We would rather attend a false alarm and know who is out and about than not be called at all.

Organisations across the country are taking part in the multi-agency campaign which aims to target rogue traders and highlight the dangers that consenting to have work carried out by cold callers can bring.

Debbie Oldfield, Dorset Police Crime Prevention Advisor, said: “Our advice is not to accept any work from people calling at the door and to make sure members of the public get three quotes for work they’re planning on having done.

“Also, people should visit the Trading Standards’ Buy With Confidence website for more advice and guidance at http://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk/.

“Rogue traders often offer gardening work or maintenance services at what appear to be attractive rates but the quality of work can be substandard or unnecessary. They often use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions.

“People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Dorset Police immediately.

“Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of a distraction burglar or rogue trader should ring Dorset Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 in an emergency.”

The national campaign is being run by Operation Liberal, the national police distraction burglary intelligence unit, and trading standards.

Operation Liberal highlights crime series and monitors intelligence on known criminals and organised criminal groups who travel extensively throughout the UK to commit these crimes.