Moray Council’s trading standards section is throwing its weight behind a national Police Scotland campaign to crack down on rogue traders who call on unsuspecting victims in their own homes.
Operation Monarda – which will run for the next four weeks – aims to make householders more aware of doorstep criminals and the methods they use to dupe people into parting with their money.
There will be special emphasis on providing advice to the elderly and the more vulnerable on how to avoid becoming victims of doorstep crime.
The initiative is being backed by Moray Council whose trading standards team regularly receive complaints about consumer crime on the doorstep.
They currently have several investigations under way and have reported a number of alleged offenders to the fiscal.
Councillor Chris Tuke, who chairs the council’s planning and regulatory services committee, said trading standards and the police had a long history of working together to combat the issue and he warmly welcomed the strong partnership ethos behind Operation Monarda.
He said doorstep crime was a priority for the trading standards section and in some cases victims had their entire savings wiped out to pay for often unnecessary work.
“However, the long-term impact of doorstep crime can be much more than the financial loss and often impacts on the health and wellbeing of the victim.
“We also can’t forget the knock-on effect this crime can have on local businesses and the economy more widely.”
Trading standards manager Peter Adamson said that research had shown that only one in 10 incidents of doorstep crime were reported.
“Householders can protect themselves by taking simple precautions,” he said. “Trading standards’ advice is never to agree to work on the doorstep. If you think that work is needed on your property, get quotes from two or three traders.
“Ask someone you can trust for a recommendation. We can supply free ‘We do not buy at the door’ stickers.”
Mr Adamson said that ongoing investigations by his section covered driveway installers, garden services, roofing, energy efficiency installations, alarm installation and other general property maintenance.
Further work was planned with Police Scotland to inspect home and garden maintenance companies to ensure they were genuine and complying with fair trading laws.
Chief Inspector Willie Findlay, Police Scotland area commander for Moray, said: “I am grateful for the support of Moray Council in raising awareness of doorstep crime. Bogus callers cruelly target vulnerable people who are often unaware a crime has been committed or are too embarrassed to go to the police.
“We want to encourage victims of this deplorable crime to come forward in confidence that we will thoroughly investigate these offences. By working with our partners at trading standards we want to prevent harm and minimise risk to the public.”
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 92,500 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.