National Consumer Week gets underway

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Putting a stop to doorstep crime is the top national priority for the Trading Standards Service in Scotland.

As part of this year’s National Consumer week, Trading Standards at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar are asking Western Isles residents to ‘be good neighbours and stop rogue traders’ in order to prevent doorstep crime by encouraging neighbours, family, friends and carers to look out for those most at risk in their communities.

Through a joint operation, Trading Standards and Police Scotland, along with officers from The Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency DVSA, were recently able to disrupt a potential doorstop sales scam in the Western Isles.

A spokesperson, said: “Doorstep crime can affect anyone, but particularly the over 60’s and the vulnerable are targeted by Rogue Traders.

“Locally we have seen doorstep traders selling anything from power washers and chainsaws to supplying services such as roofing work and driveway construction.

“Very often the callers are extremely convincing in how they approach and interact with potential victims and it can be difficult to get rid of them.

“There is evidence to suggest a significant amount of under reporting of doorstep crime. Many people are either not aware that they have been subject to a crime or they feel too embarrassed to tell someone.”

A spokesperson from Police Scotland, said: “This is a great example of Police Scotland working with partners including local authorities and trading standards teams and the private and voluntary sectors proving that we are keeping people safe.

“It has also strengthened and given us new partnerships and links we can use in future. Doorstep crime can affect anyone within our local communities, but we are aware that older people in particular can be targeted due to a perceived vulnerability. It is far from a victimless type of crime. The effects of it can have life changing consequences on victim’s health and wellbeing, in addition to the impact of any subsequent financial loss. Some of the techniques used by these criminals are very high pressure and very sophisticated. It is very easy for anyone, however well-educated or world-wise, to fall foul of them.

“There is no stigma or embarrassment in getting caught out and Police Scotland urges victims, or their families, to come forward and report this type of crime. Our ability to identify and catch those responsible is increased by the number of people who come forward with information.

“One of the other parts of this operation was the promotion of a new Nominated Neighbour Scheme, which raises awareness and empower the community to protect its own and disrupt unlawful behaviour. The scheme is already making an impact on communities across the country.”

A DVSA spokesperson, said: “DVSA was pleased to work alongside officers from Trading Standards in tackling itinerant doorstep sellers.

“Owners and drivers of vehicles should ensure that they comply with all vehicle safety legislation. People found to be operating outside of the law will face serious consequences.”

As a result of previous doorstep scams CNES Trading Standards Along with Partner agencies currently run a ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ in the Western Isles, the zone helps to: Reduce instances of doorstep crime and bogus workmen.

Deter Cold Callers and Educate residents and empower them to refuse cold callers.

Trading Standards want to encourage residents to report any suspicious activity immediately so that Officers can investigate doorstep crime.

To report suspicious activity please call Trading Standards on 01851 822694, out of office hours on the Faire Careline on 70701702, or the Police on 101. In an emergency please dial 999.