Joint pledge to stamp out rogue traders

Caption: Cold callers get the cold shoulder&Councillor Alison Bacon and Inspector Derek Riley in Barton Close ' which makes up one of the new 'No Cold Calling' zones. Also pictured are residents Mrs Taylor and Mr Clough, Chief Trading Standards Officer Darrell Wilson and Police Community Support Officers.
Caption: Cold callers get the cold shoulder&Councillor Alison Bacon and Inspector Derek Riley in Barton Close ' which makes up one of the new 'No Cold Calling' zones. Also pictured are residents Mrs Taylor and Mr Clough, Chief Trading Standards Officer Darrell Wilson and Police Community Support Officers.

A COMPREHENSIVE packet of measures designed to drum rogue traders out of St Helens has been unveiled.

The joint initiative from St Helens Council’s trading standards team and St Helens police includes the spot checks on local traders.

Rogue traders cold call offering to carry out work and often target elderly residents.

Councillor Alison Bacon, cabinet member for Environmental Protection, said these criminals were also linked to distraction burglaries.

She said: “Both types of criminals target elderly or vulnerable people with a view to getting as much money as possible out of their victims.

“Therefore it is clearly important for Trading Standards and the Police to do as much as possible to stop these criminals before they commit further crimes.”

The official advice is to turn away traders callung unannounced on the doorstep. Often the work is unnecessary, done to a poor standard and substantially overpriced.

A number of rogue traders have been jailed in recent years for carrying out vile attacks on vulnerable attacks.

Rico Evans, an 18-year-old roofer from Peasley Cross, was jailed for 18 months in 2009 for bullying a pensioner into ordering outrageously expensive roof repairs

Evans, who was also given a 10-year ASBO banning him from calling at homes to secure building or gardening work, told his 79-year-old victim her roof needed fixing.

Despite her deciding that she did not want the work doing, but was awoken two days later to the sound of men clambering on her roof.

Despite telling Evans that she did not want the work doing, the rogue trader and his gang continued to work on the roof. Once they had finished, Evans demanded £1,100 and drove the pensioner to her local bank to withdraw the money.

The joint patrols were out and about last week stopping traders and checking on their activities.

Legitimate traders are given free trader advice and details on how to join the Trading Standards Trader Register.

Meanwhile, five more ‘No Cold Calling’ zones have been set up across the borough to help protect residents in specific areas from uninvited callers.

Insp Derek Riley said: “Although most people who call at your home are genuine, some are not and these people who often prey on the most vulnerable members of society, stripping people of their savings and in some cases getting people into debt for unnecessary or sub-standard work.

“This has been a successful operation and we hope it encourages people who have been victims of this kind of crime to come forward. We need to know where these people are operating so that we can do all that we can to highlight the damage they do and put them before the courts.”