Tips on avoiding being targeted by rogue traders have been released following a crackdown on the crime.
Officers from Lincolnshire Trading Standards, Lincolnshire Police, Environment Agency and HMRC were out in villages and towns across Lincolnshire last week to raise awareness.
Patrolling villages along the East Coast, officers worked together to disrupt rogue traders, give advice to traders on trading practices and talk to residents on what they should think about when contracting with a trader.
Kimberley Marshall, trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “From intelligence, we know that rogue traders are operating in these areas.
“We see that residents are typically ‘cold called’, told they need work doing to their roof/garden/driveway, amongst other things and then significantly over charged, for often poor standard of workmanship. Sometimes the work is unnecessary or left unfinished, property is damaged to obtain money, and in some cases, rogue traders use intimidation to extort money.
“By working collaboratively with partners, we are able to disrupt and enforce against rogue traders, provide advice to traders around their trading practices and to raise awareness in the community by advising people as to what they should be looking for when considering a trader.”
An Environmental Crime Officer at the Environment Agency said: “Illegal waste carriers undercut legitimate businesses, can cause severe damage to the environment and make a misery for local residents. We are determined to make life hard for criminals. We support legitimate business and we are proactively supporting them by disrupting and stopping the criminal element, backed up by the threat of more tough enforcement action and prosecution.
“If you suspect a company is operating illegally, you can call the Environment Agency 24/7 on 0800 80 70 60 or report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Kimberley adds: “If looking to contract a trader, please take these six tips into account:
1. Never use cold-callers, remember: ‘Not Sure, Don’t Open the Door’
2. Consumers are legally entitled to a 14-day cooling off period for contracts formed at their home.
3. Check the identity of the caller carefully.
4. Ask a trusted person for advice on reputable traders.
5. Display a “No Cold Calling” sticker.
6. Always report suspicious activity.
For more advice and information on the work trading standards does, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk