Crackdown on conmen in county

An annual crackdown by Trading Standards and police in North Yorkshrie on rogue traders has led to the arrest of three men charged with money laundering and conspiracy to defraud an elderly victim.

The national campaign called Operation Rogue Trader, aims to clamp down on doorstep traders and cold callers who con the public out of thousands of pounds every year.

As well as the arrests, trading standards offiers have worked together with charities, information services and the emergency services to inform and advise North Yorkshire residents about rogue traders.

On average North Yorkshire trading standards receive 260 complaints or referrals about doorstep crime incidents every year, but it is believed this accounts for only 14 per cent of the total number of cases.

The total number is estimated at 1,850.

As part of this year’s activities, the country’s 400th No Cold Call Zone has been created in the Thirsk area to protect residents, while information packs and advice leaflets have been distributed to charity Age Concern, local banks and libraries.

Bank staff are being encouraged to report instances of elderly or vulnerable customers withdrawing unusually large sums of money from their accounts when they suspect doorstep criminals are involved.

County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, Executive Member for Trading Standards and Planning Services, said: “This week’s activities form a major part of our continuing efforts to stamp out doorstep crime in our county.

“Residents should be reassured that we are doing all we can, together with appropriate partners to stop criminals offending in North Yorkshire and to prevent the elderly and vulnerable becoming victims of this abhorrent behaviour.

“There is no need for anyone to feel embarrassed about being defrauded by these unscrupulous traders.

“Reporting the matter may mean they play a vital role in helping us to prosecute offenders and also in preventing further consumers bcoming victims of their frauds and scams.”

Anyone who has been caught by a scam can report it to Trading Standards by calling Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

For more information and advice from North Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards log onto www.northyorks.gov.uk