Eleven arrested in rogue trader probe

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ELEVEN people were arrested and nearly 500 vehicles stopped in the first three days of a Merseyside Police operation aimed at combatting rogue traders and doorstep crime.

Merseyside Police teamed up with partners including Trading Standards, DVLA, VOSA, Customs & Excise, Environmental Health, Waste Management, Taxi Licensing and Land Registry to take part in a national day of action this week as part of a week-long crime prevention initiative, Operation Rogue Trader.

Officers in Knowsley executed a warrant on the first day of Operation Rogue Trader, Monday 30 September, in Prescot and recovered a rifle and ammunition as well as 735 packs of tobacco. The officers liaised at scene with Trading Standards officers who have now taken over the seizure of the tobacco and will deal with the investigation and prosecution.

Operation Rogue Trader officers also assisted in the recovery of several bikes after 19 quad bikes were reported as having been stolen from an address in Knowsley at around 6.30am on Wednesday 30 September. The bikes were fitted with tracker devices and within a few hours all the quad bikes had been recovered and five people arrested.

In the first three days of this week Operation Rogue Trader resulted in:

Arrests – 11

Leaflets Delivered – 5,550

Visits to Premises – 452

Surgeries / Neighbourhood Watch meetings – 16

Visits to vulnerable persons - 97

Vehicles stopped – 479

OSCO’s (motoring offences detected) – 34

Vehicle Prohibition Notices – 6

Trading Standards Action / Advice – 112

Intelligence reports – 29

Property Seized – 735 packs of tobacco

Seized Firearms – 1 rifle

Seized Ammunition – 6 rounds

Vehicles Seized – 10

Taxi Licensing Notices – 15

Land Registry Leaflets Distributed – 500

Home Improvement Forms – 8

Environmental Health Tickets – 5

Environmental Health Warnings – 5

Fixed Penalty Notices – 14

VOSA / DVLA Checks – 32

Breath Tests – 5

Warrants – 1

Chief Superintendent Peter Costello said: “The aim of Operation Rogue Trader is to work with partners to disrupt and enforce against rogue traders.

“In just the first three days of our week of action we have worked proactively with numerous partner agencies to achieve these results with great success.

“Not only have our dedicated officers disrupted criminal activity but have also been directly involved in recovering stolen property and arresting suspects.

“A great deal of work has also been done by our roads policing unit, working alongside the DVLA and VOSA, in terms of checking vehicles using Merseyside’s roads.

“Officers have also visited vulnerable people and delivered leaflets aimed at offering reassurance and advice.”

The 11 arrests are broken down into:

1 x arrest for suspicion of possession of a firearm and ammunition

5 x arrests on suspicion of burglary

2 x warrants

1 x wanted on suspicion of harassment

1 x suspicion of possession of a Class B drugs

1 x suspicion of assault