St Helens Trading Standards crack down on rogue traders

Rogue traders were trembling today as an alliance of consumer rights superheroes assembled to do battle against those who would exploit honest folk, marking Rogue Trader Day yesterday (Thursday, October 7).

Friday, 8th October 2021, 1:05 pm
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 1:06 pm
Merseyside Police set up a checkpoint at the Steve Prescott Bridge, supporting St Helens Borough Council's Trading Standards and Licensing teams and the Environment Agency to make their checks

St Helens Borough Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing teams joined forces with Merseyside Police, RSPCA and the Environment Agency for a day of targeted action, awareness raising and intelligence gathering, protecting consumers from rogues and cowboys, and ensuring all manner of traders are following the letter of the law.

Rogue Trader Day is supported annually by the 23 local authorities in the Trading Standards North West region, including all the Merseyside and Greater Manchester authorities, plus Cumbria, Lancashire, Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and Warrington.

Inspector Rob Budden of the St Helens Targeted Team said: “It was a busy and successful day of action. Operations like this send a clear message that along with our partners, we are determined to root out and tackle bogus callers and rogue traders.

“We have worked proactively alongside our partners to disrupt criminals who prey on the most vulnerable members of society and often leave a profound and lasting impact on their victims.

“Our officers were out in uniform and plain clothes. We have been using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology and vehicle checkpoints to identify vehicles used by criminals and we have conducted intelligence-led patrols in areas where older or vulnerable people live. Officers have also visited business premises and spoken to legitimate traders, providing advice and reassurance.”

Councillor Jeanie Bell, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “Across the region, Trading Standards receive reports every week about traders who have targeted often vulnerable residents, manipulating them into paying over the odds for work that is left uncompleted, of a very poor standard or not needed at all.

“While the criminal prosecution of these rogues by Trading Standards is of great importance, our officers work hard to protect consumers before their money is lost and the damage is done.

"By getting out into the community and engaging with all traders, providing advice about their legal requirements, speaking to residents and gathering and sharing intelligence, we can disrupt rogues before they’re able to exploit others.”

Meanwhile, the council’s licensing team has been out and about checking that taxi licensing requirements are met and high standards maintained, and that scrap metal collectors have the required licence.

The RSPCA investigated animal welfare during transport – particularly important with increasing reports around the unregulated sale of puppies which are often in poor health, and sold with inaccurate descriptions of breed and origin.

And the Environment Agency sought out waste carriers to ensure they are licensed to operate, preventing likely fly-tipping, in partnership with the council’s environmental wardens.

There are hundreds of fair and honest traders in St Helens Borough. Visit sthelenstraderregister.com to find one, view feedback and ratings left by previous customers on each trader’s profile, or to register your business as a trusted trader.