Sheffield City Council and South Yorkshire Police are joining forces with partners across the city and the region for a week of action to raise awareness of doorstep traders preying on trusting residents.
Running from 14-18 October ‘Doorstep diligent, doorstep wise’ builds on the successful work of Sheffield’s Not Born Yesterday campaign and throughout the week officers will be leafleting across the city, hopping on and off city buses and holding awareness events.
10 local authorities from across Yorkshire & Humber are also carrying out similar activity, with the aim of reaching 20,000 households throughout the region to warn of the risks of dealing with doorstep traders.
Mark Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change, said: “Doorstep traders are very common within our neighbourhoods and although many are running legitimate businesses, some are simply criminals who are targeting trusting and often vulnerable people.
“Throughout this week of action our aim is to highlight the risks of dealing with doorstep traders and the potential issues people may face, such as poor quality work, overcharging, fraud and theft. People in any doubt at all or who feel pressured about entering into a transaction should always seek advice. Citizens Advice and our officers are trained to help.
“We are not trying to alarm people, but to educate them to protect themselves from doorstep criminals. There’s lots of advice available and ways that people can check whether a business is genuine and that’s the message we want to get across. We always take concerns seriously and encourage people to report any issues.”
Sheffield’s Trading Standards monitor businesses operating in the city and investigate reports and complaints about rogue traders and doorstep criminals. Individuals are prosecuted where evidence of fraud or criminal activity is found.
Last year, four doorstep criminals were convicted at Sheffield Crown Court and were sentenced to a total of 6 years with 200 hours community service, and one was ordered to pay £2,000 compensation. So far this year a further 27 reports of doorstep crime, which saw victims defrauded out of more than £46,000, have been investigated. The council’s commitment to prosecute these criminals continues and one fraudster has already received a two year sentence this year with a number of other cases going through the criminal system.
The ‘Doorstep diligent, doorstep wise’ week of action runs from Monday 14 to Friday 18 October and includes:
- Monday 14 & Tuesday 15 Oct – leafleting by officers from Trading Standards and South Yorkshire Police to households in areas across the city, particularly where recent reports have been higher.Residents will receive information about how to deal with callers at the door and how to report concerns, plus a door / window sticker that can be displayed to deter callers from making any approach.
- Wednesday 16 Oct – in partnership with Stagecoach & First buses, officers from Trading Standards and South Yorkshire Police will be hopping on and off routes, to and from the city centre providing passengers with a variety of prevention messages, door-stickers and other promotional item give-aways.
- Thursday 17 Oct – Focus day in partnership with NatWest Bank Banner Cross branch: Drop in between 10am – 3pm.
- Friday 18 Oct – Focus day with shoppers at Crystal Peaks Market (Barrow B): Drop in between 10am – 3pm.
Anyone with concerns or suspicions about doorstep criminals should report these to Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 or by email to email@example.com