2:10pm Friday 11th April 2014
By Graeme Hetherington
A WEEK-long clampdown on rogue traders and distraction burglars has resulted in two arrests and a number of vehicles being seized.
Cleveland Police were out in force in South Bank as part of a national campaign codenamed Operation Rogue Trader, which was led by Operation Liberal - the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and travelling criminals - and Trading Standards.
People believed to be using distraction techniques to steal from homes, rogue traders who deliberately overcharge or use intimidating behaviour in order to extort money, or cold callers who charge for unnecessary work and damage property were all targeted.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Pickard said: “Rogue traders and distraction burglars see the vulnerable and elderly as easy prey, with their actions causing long-term financial and emotional consequences that can ruin lives.
“Evidence strongly suggests that there are links between those who commit distraction burglary and those who are involved in rogue trading.”
The operation resulted in 26 vehicles being stopped and checked with 21 of them committing some form of offence.
Two arrests were made for theft of shopping trollies, each worth £100, and three drug searches took place with a seizure from one vehicle of cannabis. The other two proved negative.
Eleven vehicle prohibitions were issued, including two vehicles which were carrying excess weight, two recoveries for no insurance and no licence, three seatbelt tickets were issued and two vehicles did not have vehicle excise licences along with one without a current MOT certificate.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger said: “Local residents have the right to say no to cold callers on their doorstep and I will continue to support police and partner agencies to raise awareness in communities. We must focus on safeguarding those most vulnerable across Cleveland and prioritising repeat victims of crime.”
Leaflets have been distributed across the Cleveland Police area containing information to raise awareness of the tactics used by rogue traders. The message given as part of the campaign is, ‘Not Sure? Don’t Open the Door!’.
Anyone wanting to report suspicious activity or who has information on rogue traders can contact police on the non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800-555111.
People can also contact their local trading standards department for advice.
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