Operation Rogue Trader begins in Lancashire

TROUBLE: Rogue trader Steven Lee Snr
TROUBLE: Rogue trader Steven Lee Snr
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Cowboy traders who pressure vulnerable people into unnecessary and poor work at their homes will be targeted in a week long operation to thwart doorstep rogues.

Operation Rogue Trader, which will run across Lancashire, will see various organisations join forces including the police, Lancashire’s Trading Standards, HM Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA) alongside a national campaign.

TROUBLE: The damage to a previous victim's roof

TROUBLE: The damage to a previous victim's roof

Raids will be carried out on suspects’ properties, roadside checkpoints will be set up to stop suspect vehicles and vulnerable people believed to be at risk of falling victim will be visited.

Chief Insp Mike Adamson said: “Rogue traders are criminals who take advantage of householders by using high-pressure, forceful sales techniques.

“This kind of criminality is often linked to distraction burglaries, which is carried out by an offender gaining access to a property by distracting or deceiving the householder in order to steal valuables or cash.

“During 2014 there were 55 domestic distraction burglaries, and of these 23 involved the cover story of being a workman in order to gain entry.”

It is hoped the operation will thwart rogues similar to Steven Lee snr, a dodgy roofer who is serving an 18 month jail term after admitting conning vulnerable pensioners into handing over thousands of pounds for shoddy repairs.

The 52-year-old dad-of-five cold called pensioners on their doorsteps in 2014 and do unnecessary jobs or vastly overcharge for work.

He admitted knowingly participating in a fraudulent business,An 84-year-old man paid Lee £3,800 for £200 of work he did, while Fulwood grandmother Judith Hughes paid £2,200 for work which Lee never completed.