Police crack down on Doncaster rogue traders

CRIME: Crime scene.
CRIME: Crime scene.

Police and enforcement agencies joined forces this week in an attempt to make Doncaster a safer place.

An operation to crack down on distraction burglars and rogue traders has taken place which saw South Yorkshire Police joined together with forces across the UK, as well as Trading Standards and partner agencies, in “Operation Rogue Trader”.

Involved was seven days of enforcement activity aimed at disrupting criminals who masquerade as legitimate traders in order to target vulnerable, largely elderly, residents.

The operation was co-ordinated by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality, and supported by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

Chief Inspector Andy Male said: “Rogue Trader is a concerted, national policing operation to target individuals who pry upon vulnerable people, often by carrying out distraction-type burglaries or by overcharging people for work carried out on their homes.

“The impact of these crimes upon the victims’ quality of life is massive. These are vulnerable people and to be a victim of these callous rogue traders can have a hugely detrimental impact upon them.

“We take these type of offences very seriously, and this is reflected by the operational activity that we have been carrying out in South Yorkshire this week, in addition to the work that we already do, day in day out, to make the streets safer.”

In Doncaster the activity was mainly focused around the M18/M180, areas around Skellow and there was also a vehicle check point on the Great North Road, and involved around 12 officers and detectives.

Ch Insp Male added: “The people that carry out this type of thing are involved in a whole range of offending, and this is why we have a multi agency attack.

“It was successful, not so much in locking people up but in gathering intelligence. People of interest to us were stopped and checked.

“We do this work day in day out but this was a concerted national activity so all the forces were working together at the same time. It makes the chance of catching people greater.

“This was local officers working with enforcement agencies including the council and HMRC to make Doncaster a safer place.”

The operation saw a total of three people arrested with five vehicles seized for a series of offences and one suspected stolen vehicle was recovered, along with a quantity of drugs.

During the operation, police have been carrying out spot-checks on vehicles that may have been involved in criminal activity.

There have also been checks on waste carriers, waste disposal licences and excise checks on fuel along with HMRC officers.

Operation Rogue Trader began in 2006 as a single day of action in the Midlands, involving police forces and Trading Standards teams.

Since then it has expanded to involve almost every police force in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

In 2013, 34 forces took part in Operation Rogue Trader. Overall, 6,016 vehicles were stopped and checked, 601 arrests were made and property worth £184,450 was recovered.

Rogue traders are criminals who take advantage of householders by using high-pressure sales techniques. The work is often expensive, sub-standard and not required at all.

Rogue trading is often linked to distraction burglary, which is carried out by an offender who gains access to a property by distracting or deceiving the householder in order to steal valuables or cash.