The council has been working with the police and ‘the Revenue’ to crack down on rogue traders and deter fraudsters from operating in the region.
Cheshire East Council’s trading standards officers and community enforcement officers have been taking to the roads in and around Knutsford, along with colleagues from Cheshire police and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) mobile inquiry team, as part of National Trading Standards’ Operation ‘Rogue Trader’.
Patrolling in marked police vehicles and accompanied by HMRC’s testing vehicle, a team of officers stopped traders working, or travelling to work, in an effort to catch the ‘rogue’ element, who make their living preying on Cheshire East’s more vulnerable residents.
Trading standards officers checked the legitimacy of traders by examining their activities and paperwork, while community officers were on alert for fly-tippers.
Police officers undertook checks on traders and their vehicles to ensure compliance with insurance and MoT requirements. In addition, HMRC officers also conducted ‘dip tests’ to see whether reduced duty ‘red’ diesel was being used illegally.
This was part of a nationally co-ordinated event promoted by National Trading Standards, to demonstrate to communities and traders that local authorities, police forces and HMRC join forces to investigate traders who try to take advantage of community members for their own greed.
Cheshire East Council has highlighted via the media the strong partnership work with Cheshire police, which recently led to the discovery of £55,000 of illegal tobacco and the successful prosecution of the fraudster at Chester Crown Court.
Councillor Janet Clowes, Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for communities and health, said: “This partnership work is really important and can often lead to the detection of fraudulent activity – which can sometimes happen when you least expect it! We have seen successful results in the last few months. We plan to build on this good work.”
Anyone with information about these types of criminal activity should ring trading standards on 03454 04 05 06, Cheshire police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.