A NATIONAL POLICE campaign aimed at cracking down on rogue traders who dupe unsuspecting victims in their own homes is being backed in Moray.
Operation Monarda will run over the next four weeks and seeks to make householders more aware of doorstep criminals and the methods they employ to dupe people – particularly the elderly – into parting with their cash.
The initiative will be backed by Moray Council who say their trading standards team regularly receive complaints about consumer doorstep crimes. Currently the local authority have several investigations taking place with a number of alleged offenders having been reported to the Procurator Fiscal.
Councillor Chris Tuke is chair of the planning and regulatory services committee. He said that trading standards and police have a long history of working hand in hand to combat such criminal activity and so welcome Operation Monarda.
“The long-term impact of doorstep crime can be much more than the financial loss and often impacts on the health and wellbeing of the victim,” Councillor Tuke said, adding: “We also can’t forget the knock-on effect this crime can have on local businesses and the economy more widely.”
According to trading standards manager Peter Adamson only one in every 10 incidents on the doorstep are reported. He said: “Householders can protect themselves by taking simple precautions. Trading standards’ advice is never to agree to work on the doorstep – if you think that work is needed on your property, get quotes from two or three traders.
“Ask someone you can trust for a recommendation. We can supply free ‘We do not buy at the door’ stickers.”
Mr Adamson said that ongoing investigations by his section covered driveway installers, garden services, roofing, energy efficiency installations, alarm installation and other general property maintenance.
Further work was planned with Police Scotland to inspect home and garden maintenance companies to ensure they were genuine and complying with fair trading laws.
Chief Inspector Willie Findlay, Police Scotland area commander for Moray, said: “I am grateful for the support of Moray Council in raising awareness of doorstep crime. Bogus callers cruelly target vulnerable people who are often unaware a crime has been committed or are too embarrassed to go to the police.
“We want to encourage victims of this deplorable crime to come forward in confidence that we will thoroughly investigate these offences. By working with our partners at trading standards we want to prevent harm and minimise risk to the public.”