21 June 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Heartless rogue traders in Littlehampton blasted by Arun
ROGUE traders who have preyed on some of the victims of last week’s floods in Littlehampton have come in for scathing criticism from Arun District Council’s deputy leader Dudley Wensley.
Speaking to the Gazette on Tuesday, Mr Wensley said he was “appalled” that anyone could target such vulnerable people following the disaster in the town.
His comments came days after reports that unsolicited traders were appearing on the doorsteps of households in Littlehampton in the immediate aftermath of the flooding, which affected dozens of homes across the area.
Mr Wensley said: “Not only am I appalled but I am also angry that the most vulnerable people in our communities are being preyed upon by rogue traders when they are at their lowest.
“These people are despicable and we must all be vigilant and make every effort to ensure they are caught.
“Our communities have rallied to support those most affected by last week’s flooding across our district.
“Please look out for your neighbours and the elderly to ensure nobody falls victim to these people.”
On Friday, West Sussex County Council’s trading standards department issued advice to homeowners and all those affected by the flooding to say “no” to these cold-callers.
Other advice includes using reputable businesses when seeking repair work.
West Sussex trading standards’ approved business directory contains a list of hundreds of trusted businesses, vetted by trading standards officers, who have signed up to the Buy With Confidence scheme.
A number of builders decorators, electricians and home maintenance businesses in Littlehampton are accredited with the scheme.
West Sussex County Council cabinet member for public protection, Christine Field, said: “Whenever an emergency of this nature occurs, it seems to bring unscrupulous traders out of the woodwork who prey on the vulnerable.”
Checkatrade, which vets and monitors businesses to help people avoid cowboy builders, has also released a checklist of what to consider when looking for a trusted tradesman, that includes avoiding cold-callers and businessmen dealing exclusively in cash.
It also advised residents to seek quotes from at least three contractors and insist on a written quotation or estimate for the work.
For details about reputable businesses in the area call 01243 642124 or visit either the county council’s website, at www.westsussex.gov.uk/bwc or Checkatrade’s at www.checkatrade.com
NOTES TO EDITORS
Checkatrade helps combat the UK's rogue trader problem by continuously vetting and monitoring local traders such as builders, plumbers and electricians. The idea was born in 1998 after a tornado hit the small West Sussex town of Selsey. Traders poured in from as far away as Liverpool and Manchester. Unfortunately, some ripped off the inhabitants of the town. Local businessman, Kevin Byrne, realised there was nowhere to check out the traders’ credentials and the company that became Checkatrade was formed.
Since then, Checkatrade has grown to include over 6,300 genuine trade members, growing by an average 120 new members every month, and, via the Royal Mail, distributes 5.9 million directories a year into communities throughout Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Dorset and Berkshire, while the website includes traders from across the UK.
PR / Marketing, Checkatrade
5 - 6 Sherrington Mews, Ellis Square, Selsey, West Sussex, PO20 0FJ