12 May 2017

Officers from Sheffield Trading Standards and South Yorkshire Police were out in force this week, in a targeted operation against rogue traders believed to be responsible for a string of incidents across the city.

The operation was organised after elderly and vulnerable residents in Sheffield were targeted and conned into paying out thousands of pounds for unnecessary and poor quality building work.

In the run-up to the day of action on Wednesday 10 May, which was part of the national Operation Rogue Trader, trading standards officers from Sheffield City Council were busy in known hotspots around the city, raising awareness and encouraging residents to report their concerns.

Ian Ashmore, Head of Environmental Regulation at Sheffield City Council, said: “It’s important to us and our partners to contribute to the National Rogue Trader week initiative, although we have a year-round commitment to trying to reduce levels of this sort of crime, protecting the most vulnerable and pursuing those responsible.

“Working together with partners such as South Yorkshire Police and Age UK Sheffield, we are trying to raise awareness of scams and rogue trading among elderly people in the city, who are disproportionately targeted by people who think they can get away with attempting to charge them huge amounts of money for unnecessary and poor quality work.

“But there’s a message to families and communities too. If you know of anyone, particularly the elderly or otherwise vulnerable people, who you think may be a victim of this sort of crime, get in touch with us. As operations such as this prove, we can and do work hard to bring those responsible to account.”

This comes after the launch of the Not Born Yesterday campaign in December 2016, which delivers a range of initiatives to help communities be on their guard against traders that cold call for work at the door.

The campaign also encourages families, neighbours and people that work in communities across Sheffield to be aware of the signs that someone may be the victim of scams or rogue trading.

This week’s operation came after careful planning and partnership work between Trading Standards and South Yorkshire Police.

Inspector Chris Lewis from the Sheffield Priority Crime Team at South Yorkshire Police said: “Wednesday’s operation was based on intelligence relating to a series of incidents in Sheffield, in which residents have lost more than £30,000 to bogus traders.

“And while this year’s week of action has been successful and well worth doing, I want offenders and potential offenders to know that South Yorkshire Police will target you all year round, as we work with partners to make arrests and recover property.

“Anyone with information should call the South Yorkshire Police non-emergency number on 101.”

Wednesday’s operation in Sheffield was part of the UK-wide Operation Rogue Trader.

This is the 12th year that police services and trading standards services across the country have come together to target rogue traders and highlight the dangers that consenting to have work carried out by cold callers can bring.

The last Operation Rogue Trader in 2016 saw nearly 300 people arrested, nearly £3m worth of property recovered and more than 5,000 vehicles inspected.

The campaign is being run by Operation Liberal (Police National Intelligence Unit). All police forces across England, Wales and Scotland are consortium members of Operation Liberal.

Activities on the day ranged from executing warrants, identifying vehicles used by criminals through automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and conducting intelligence-led patrols in areas where older or vulnerable people live.

People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.

Anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of any distraction burglar or rogue trader should call South Yorkshire Police on 101.

More information on the Not Born Yesterday campaign is available online here.