Talks to keep forces informed of threat

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TOP-LEVEL talks have been held between senior police officers and trading standards officials to ensure the region’s forces are aware of the threat posed by rogue traders.

A concerted effort is underway to dispel a widely-held perception that the fraudsters are often lone offenders who are simply carrying out random crimes when the opportunities present themselves. A series of meetings have been organised by senior officers in North Yorkshire and the county’s trading standards officials to ensure there is a co-ordinated approach.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, Julia Mulligan, has identified the need to tackle organised crime, including the actions of gangs of rogue traders, as well as protecting the most vulnerable members of society as cornerstones of her first policing plan which is currently being drawn up.

She said: “The perception is often that the offences are only at a relatively low level. But that is not the case, and it is much, much more significant than that. It has to be recognised that this not only affects an individual, but it impacts on the wider community as well.

“I do believe that the local officers are aware of what is happening, and they are taking it seriously. But we do need to make sure everyone is aware of the threat that these rogue traders pose.

“It is extremely distressing to think that there are individuals out there who are willing to prey on some of the most vulnerable people there are, but we will do all we can to bring the offenders to justice.”

Figures from North Yorkshire County Council’s trading standards department revealed there are on average 260 reports of doorstep crime every year. But it is estimated that as many as 72 per cent of offences go unreported.

However, there have been success in targeting offenders and doorstep crime in North Yorkshire has fallen by 16 per cent in the past three years.