Lancashire County Council's trading standards experts joined forces with the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) recently for a week of action aimed at tackling rogue traders.
The activities, which were part of a North West regional 'day of action', included checks aimed at tackling rogue practices and spotting problems with business vehicles. Three roadside check sites were set up near Burnley, Pendle and Lancaster, while officers visited traders carrying out work at people's homes in the Fylde area.
These checks led to 61 traders being provided with advice about contracts and consumer rights. The DVSA issued 14 immediate prohibitions and eight delayed prohibitions relating to vehicle safety, while the police took enforcement action when they found three vehicles had no insurance. There were also visits to more than 160 households to give residents advice on avoiding falling victim to rogue traders. Other activities included visits to traders' merchants to raise awareness of the county council's Lancashire Safe Trader Scheme.
County Councillor Peter Buckley, cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “We need to do everything we can to raise awareness of rogue traders and help prevent innocent people falling victim to these criminals.
"These activities, which were intelligence-led focusing on the areas where we've had high reports of doorstep crime, have provided a platform to educate residents, advise businesses and put a stop to these scammers. Rogue traders use every trick in the book to prey on the most vulnerable in our society and it's vital we make residents aware of this and work with traders to ensure they are operating lawfully."
Over the last year Lancashire Trading Standards received almost 600 reports about bogus callers, and a further 600 reports about potential scams or frauds. Trading Standards authorities in the North West received nearly 7,000 reports about potential doorstep offending, and 2,380 reports about scams or frauds during this time.
County Councillor Buckley added: "Working closely with the police and other agencies means we can intervene sooner and safeguard potential victims.
"Our message is to always say no to cold callers, do your research and use known local trades people. Lancashire County Council's Safe Trader scheme will help you to find a trader in your area."
To find a trader using the Lancashire Safe Traders Scheme, visit www.safetrader.org.uk. The county council welcomes enquiries from traders wishing to become a member of the scheme.
Anyone wanting to report a rogue trader or doorstep seller should contact the council's Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.