Published: Wednesday, 12th September 2018

Royal Borough trading standards officers helped prevent two siblings from losing their family home after they were befriended by rogue trader.

The work of the council officers to help the family was highlighted during London Trading Standards (LTS) Week on Tuesday which focused on combatting 'doorstep crime and fraud'.

As part of this key work to protect vulnerable residents, who are so frequently preyed on by doorstep criminals, the Royal Borough's officers also hosted an event at the Greenwich Carers Centre in Charlton with the befriending older peoples group.

Preventing doorstep crime and fraud

The LTS week campaign urges everyone to help play a role in protecting vulnerable family, friends and neighbours by reporting any scams or fraud they are targeted by. This is especially important as doorstep crime and scams can so often be hidden crimes. Trading standards officers are warning all residents to be extremely wary of anyone turning up on their doorstep offering to carry out work on their home or selling any items.

LTS week highlights that tackling doorstep crime is a major priority for teams around the capital and their work saved residents from being ripped off by more than £2million last year.

The Royal Borough's trading standards officers have saved more than £100,000 falling into the hands of door step criminals in 2018 so far.

The team also helped two siblings keep their home after a bank alerted they visited with an unknown man and asked for a mortgage statement with a view to selling their house. Trading standards took up the case and found they had been befriended by a known rogue trader who was attempting to purchase their property, valued at £400,000, for £30,000.

The officers pursued this case tirelessly to safeguard the family's property and engaged other agencies and a solicitor to present the argument in court. The sale was stopped and an appointee is being put in place to help the victims manage their finances.

'A reminder of the vital role we can all play'

Cllr Jackie Smith, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Integrated Enforcement, said: "This was excellent collaborative working by our trading standards which stopped despicable criminal behaviour aimed at defrauding two of our residents of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

"Without the intervention of our officers and the bank there was a very real danger these residents could have been made homeless by this dangerous rogue trader who had showed up on their doorstep.

"We hope this incident sends a really strong warning to residents to never, ever use cold callers who turn up on doorsteps touting for work or trying to sell anything. It is also an important great reminder of the vital role we can all play in protecting family members, friends and neighbours by reporting scams to ensure they can be tackled."

'We can only do something about it if we know about it'

Rob Vale, Chair of LTS' Doorstep Crime Group said: "Trading standards officers in London are working very hard to protect our most vulnerable residents in what are increasingly difficult times for local authorities. This type of work relies on dedicated, passionate officers who are motivated to safeguard their local residents.

"However, doorstep crime is known to be grossly under reported and we can only do something about it if we know about it."

Find out more about how to report fraud

Find all the London Trading Standards Week news on Twitter with #LTSweek2018