A shared service delivering Environmental Health, Licensing and Trading Standards across Bracknell Forest Council and West Berkshire Council

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19 Oct 2018 - Targeting Rogue Traders in Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire and Wokingham

Trading Standards officers from the Public Protection Partnership have been working with Thames Valley Police to provide advice and take action across Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire and Wokingham during this year's National Rogue Trader Week, from 8 to 14 October 2018.

Rogue traders cold-call residents, provide poor quality goods and services, at often over-inflated prices. Common issues found by Trading Standards often include charges for unnecessary work, traders damaging property deliberately in order to obtain money, work left unfinished, and intimidating behaviour to extort money. Whilst building and gardening work are common targets for rogue traders, other trades can also include ‘green energy’, mobility products and waste.

Cllr Iain McCracken, Chairman of the Joint Public Protection Committee, said: “Since April 2018 residents of Bracknell, West Berkshire and Wokingham have lost in excess of £160K to doorstep criminals who prey on the most vulnerable in our society. They often defraud them out of vast sums of money for unnecessary and overpriced work. Research shows that this crime has a seriously detrimental effect on the victim’s health and their confidence. Research also shows that this area of crime is very underreported with victims frightened or embarrassed to come forward or simply unaware they are victims of crime. This operation was an excellent example of cross-agency working with officers from our Trading Standards team, supported by our intelligence team, working side-by-side with officers from Thames Valley Police. Further operations are being planned and will become a regular feature.”

Inspector Chris Ward, Thames Valley Police, said: "This partnership collaboration is vital for building community resilience against rogue trader activity in the area. The operation raised the profile of this important area of our work and sends a clear message to people who choose to flout the law, that we take a proactive approach to enforcement. By working in partnership we can disrupt offending patterns and criminal activity while helping to protect legitimate businesses and consumers.”

Any Bracknell Forest, West Berkshire or Wokingham business or resident that has concerns about rogue trader activity, or any other trading standards or public protection matter, should contact the service on 01635 519930 or e-mail tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk.

West Berkshire