SOUTH Wales Police and Trading Standards officers from across the force area joined forces with colleagues nationally in a crack-down on door step crime.
Rogue traders and pushy door step sellers are people who prey on the most vulnerable people within society, conning them out of vast sums of money which in many cases are their life savings, for unnecessary and overpriced work, often to the detriment of the victim’s health.
The week of action, which ran from April 7-11 was led by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality and Trading Standards.
Police visited hundreds of vulnerable and elderly residents across the force, providing them with advice and guidance on how to keep them safe.
More than 300 vehicles were checked and a number of arrests made for a variety of offences. In Bridgend three men were arrested for allegedly charging an 84 year old woman from Dinas Powys £5,000 for power washing the roof of her property.
During the week roads policing officers also carried out patrols and vehicle checks across the region, stopping taxis and other vehicles such as those seen to be carrying scrap or waste, checking the authenticity of the load, together with the roadworthiness of vehicles and the licences of drivers.
When necessary occupants of the vehicles were also questioned by the Department of Work and Pensions and Customs and Excise officers.
Local Neighbourhood policing teams were also out in their communities providing residents with advice and guidance on how they can keep themselves and members of their communities’ safe, with many neighbourhoods setting up no cold calling zones in their area.
This means anyone who calls unannounced at the homes of residents in these areas could face prosecution.
Thousands of leaflets and other promotional items have also been distributed by police and Trading Standards this week, in an attempt to encourage reporting of doorstep crime incidents, with some Neighbourhood Watch volunteers also providing assistance in spreading the word using the community messaging system, Ringmaster.
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Redrup said: “We are very aware of the devastating effect this type of crime has on its victims and as such, finding and bringing those responsible to justice is a top priority.
“This is a very worthwhile operation, which collectively provides us with an opportunity not only to showcase the work that is undertaken on a daily basis in South Wales to keep the elderly and vulnerable safe, but also sends a very clear and important message to the criminals.
“They need to know that their deplorable actions will not go un-deterred and that we will, with our partners, do all that we can seek them out.
“I would therefore urge members of the public who have been victims of such callers or traders, or who perhaps have friends, neighbours or family members who have been targeted to contact police on 999 in an emergency or 101 if the call is less urgent.
Ken Yorston, Chair of the Wales Heads of Trading Standards said: "We are delighted to have worked with the police and other enforcement partners during the week, to tackle the scourge of rogue trading across Wales. We recognise the benefit of a united front, but enforcement is only part of the solution. That is why we have been working closely with the Welsh Government on this, and through their funding we have invested in updated guidance booklets for consumers, and successfully bid to increase the number of Cold Calling Control Zones in twelve Council areas. The guidance is freely available on our website www.tradingstandardswales.org.uk. All these things combine to add resilience against rogue trading, and continuing to tackle it will remain a priority area for Trading Standards."