Police target rogue traders

Police are clamping down on bogus traders in Lancashire.
Police are clamping down on bogus traders in Lancashire.

Rogue traders who target vulnerable people living on the Fylde coast are having a “huge” impact on their victims, police today said.

Officers are this week clamping down on dodgy traders, who are behind almost half of all distraction burglaries at Lancashire homes.

Known offenders and past victims are being contacted by police as part of the operation as part of a bid to tackle the problem.

Chief Insp Mike Adamason, of Lancashire Police, told The Gazette: “We are not talking about a massive problem but the impact on vulnerable victims is huge.

“It affects their confidence and their lives massively. It is more the impact of the problem than the scale.”

He said police know of “tens” of people in Lancashire who are involved in bogus trading, where they prey on vulnerable residents and pressure them into paying over the odds for sub-par work that is often not needed at all.

And he warned distraction burglaries – when thieves divert people’s attention to steal from their homes – is common where rogue traders strike.

“There is definite link between the two,” he added. “It is not rare – it happens.”

Of the 55 domestic distraction burglaries last year in the county, the offender posed as a builder or workman to gain entry in 23 cases.

And police are urging relatives to help keep vulnerable family members safe. Anyone concerned about a relative can call police to request a home visit, educating them about the dangers and how to avoid being targeted.

Residents are advised never to agree to work because of a cold call, only pay once the work is complete, ask callers for photo ID and lock the door while you verify they are genuine if in doubt.