Regional team to tackle con artists

A SUPER-REGIONAL taskforce is being set up to tackle con artists and protect people in their own homes, it was revealed last night.Trading Standards officers from Suffolk are joining forces with their counterparts in the East of England, London and the South East in the Autumn, the county council announced.

A SUPER-REGIONAL taskforce is being set up to tackle con artists and protect people in their own homes, it was revealed last night.

Trading Standards officers from Suffolk are joining forces with their counterparts in the East of England, London and the South East in the Autumn, the county council announced.

The “scambusters” from 61 Trading Standards authorities will share intelligence and work alongside police and other specialist units.

They will crackdown on deceptive selling techniques targeting the vulnerable, doorstep crime, high pressure sales, home-working and other “get rich quick” schemes as well as cold-calling.


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The ground-breaking project has been drawn up in a bid to clamp down on rogue traders who think they can escape the law by moving over county borders and travel far to seek out consumers to scam.

Ropey roof repairs, dodgy driveways, distraction burglaries and lost life-savings are all too common, Suffolk officers said.

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They are a big problem for consumers and now Trading Standards are having to think ever bigger in their quest to combat these scams.

Steve Greenfield, county Trading Standards officer for Suffolk, said: “The new super-regional team will be effective in tracking the rogues who think they can escape the law by moving from place to place.

“With the help of the other authorities and a range of partners committed to the same aims, I believe the team can make a real and lasting difference to Suffolk consumers.”

The team representing the East of England will be based at offices in Leatherhead and Chelmsford but a spokesman for Suffolk Trading Standards last night confirmed the county's department would still exist.

The massive cross-border crackdown has four main objectives.

It will target major scams within the regions and especially protect vulnerable people in their own homes.

Sharing best practice on dealing with scams between the regions and co-ordinating intelligence gathering and its use as well as supporting and strengthening the ability of individual authorities to deal with scams in their areas will be two more of its aims.

Finally, the taskforce will work in effective partnership with other agencies, especially police forces and specialist units.

It will utilise intelligence from a variety of sources, including Regional Intelligence Units and the national consumer advice line, Consumer Direct.

Officers will have a variety of tools to put rogue traders out of business. They will look to make effective use of ASBOs (Anti Social Behaviour Orders) and Enterprise Act Enforcement Orders.

CONSUMERS across Suffolk have been targeted by a scam website selling Premier League football shirts.

It is just the sort of con the new taskforce will tackle and it is hoped the super-regional structure will further empower officers to effectively target these rogues.

The website, www.eurofootballgear.com, stated it was operating from Kent when it was actually being run by a con artist in Bangkok and the shirts did not exist, Suffolk Trading Standards said.

They investigated and were successful in getting the Paypal account - an online payment system - suspended so the site is unable to receive payments.

They said Paypal are now investigating the situation.

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