Hitchin: 'Tip of the iceberg' as record numbers of rogue traders reported

  Posted: 12.09.21 at 13:08 by Matthew Smith

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HITCHIN: Reports of ‘rogue traders’ in Hertfordshire including our town increased last year, councillors have been told.

According to the latest data from trading standards officers, in 2020-21 there were 125 rogue trader incidents reported to the county’s trading standards officers.

That’s 34 more incidents than were reported in the previous 12 months – but still regarded by officials as ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

The data was included in an annual performance report, presented to the county council’s public health and community safety cabinet panel on Thursday (September 9).

It identified rogue traders as ‘unscrupulous traders’ who offered services such as gardening or household repairs, ‘under the guise of legitimate business’.

But it highlighted deliberate overcharging for unsatisfactory goods or services, damage to property or left work unfinished.

It pointed to intimidating behaviour in order to extort money and to the deliberate targeting of elderly or vulnerable members of the community.

And it said it was “disappointing” that despite the lockdown restrictions the number of ‘Rogue Trader incidents’ reported to Trading Standards (TS) had increased.

It was also reported that trading standards enforcement officers responded to all reports of doorstep crime within 24 hours.

It was reported, where a suspected rogue trader was present or expected officers would attend immediately along with the police.

“It is pleasing to note that the target of a response within 24 hours was achieved on all occasions of a report being received,” says the report.

“This was instrumental in enabling the TS team to protect and prevent our vulnerable residents from falling victim to a number of Covid related scams instigated by a criminal minority.”

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