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Doorstep Traders

Appeal for Information

The following appeared in our Parish Magazine.   It was submitted by Richard Knight and we thought it would be appropriate to place the information in this website for easy referral as space does not permit regular inclusion in the magazine.   Hopefully we shall be able to publish on this page any future information or advice which may be appropriate to your safety.

Many of you will know that I work for Essex County Council Trading Standards, and I have written before in these pages about the risks of buying goods and services on the doorstep.   I am launching an ongoing appeal for information to help keep our community safer, and I'm widening the appeal to include underage sales of tobacco, alcohol, knives, solvents etc.

Trading Standards always needs good information to enable it to perform its duties effectively.   We can use this information to build up a picture of trading across the County to help direct our efforts in tackling doorstep crime and other rogue trading activities.

I am therefore asking the people of All Saints' to keep their eyes and ears open for information that might help Trading Standards to protect the community.   Regarding doorstep sales we are interested in sightings, calling cards, flyers through doors, personal experiences of being called upon - in all manner of doorstep sellers.   This could include builders that call on spec, roofers, tree cutters/landscapers, driveway cleaners and driveway layers and repairers, plastic soffits and fascias contractors, people selling artwork on the doorstep etc. etc.   The sort of information we need is (where possible) a date/place, vehicle registration number and description, description of persons, what they were offering, and what was said.   As much information as possible please, but don't worry if you don't have it all.

For immediate problems with doorstep traders affecting you or a neighbour please don't delay.   Don't wait to tell me, call 08454 04 05 06 to tell Trading Standards.  

Remember that if you or a neighbour is in fear of violence or intimidation then call the police via 999.

Trading Standards is also keen to receive information about local shops that are suspected of selling age-restricted products to young people.   Some of the main restrictions are alcohol (18), cigarettes/tobacco/cigarette papers (18), knives, including kitchen knives (18), and solvents, including butane lighter refills (18).   NB:  tobacco restrictions also apply to vending machines.   If you witness a sale you suspect to be illegal, or see the suspicious aftermath (maybe a group of youths dividing up cans of lager etc outside a shop), please let me know.   This is all good stuff.

All information supplied will be used anonymously, and it's important for you to know that information is used to help target problem traders - and won't lead directly to any business getting into trouble with Trading Standards.   For example, if I receive information about underage alcohol sales, the next step may be an advice visit to that business and/or a test purchase by a young volunteer under the supervision of Trading Standards.   Only then if a breach of the law takes place will formal action be considered.

For information in confidence (anonymity preserved) about Doorstep or Underage Sales matters, please contact me in person or by phone or email at work - 01245 341957 richard.knight@essex.gov.uk

Thank You.   Richard Knight