Solihull won’t stop persuing sellers to underage young people

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As part of our on-going commitment to stop young people in Solihull being exposed to age restricted products such as alcohol or cigarettes Solihull Trading Standards carried out test purchases at four premises across the Borough last night. Two volunteers under the age of 18 helped us by trying to buy cigarettes and alcohol from these shops. 2 premises sold cigarettes or alcohol to young people without verifying their age.

We will continue to reinforce the message that it is totally unacceptable to allow young people to buy certain products. We will do this by education and, if necessary, enforcement action where traders completely ignore the law.

If you think age restricted products are being sold to young people in Solihull please let us know on 03454 04 05 06.

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Rogue traders continue to operate in Solihull

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Vigilance is essential in the world we now live in. Solihull, like every area of the country, remains a target for criminals who will mercilessly exploit the most vulnerable members of our society out of EVERY single last penny they possibly can. They just don’t care who they hurt or deceive.

Solihull Trading Standards have recently dealt with several very elderly people who have been visited by men offering roof work to their properties.  We believe that these visits may not be random ‘fishing’ exercises but targeted approaches from criminals who KNOW that their intended victims are vulnerable. This may be due to the fact that the victims have been scammed before or that the fraudsters have access to other sources of information about their physical or mental condition.

An 85 year old Solihull resident recently agreed to building work and was driven to the bank to withdraw £5,500 in cash. The following day the victim was persuaded to go to the bank again for a futher £2,500. The fraudster waited in the victim’s car while he went to the bank. Thankully the bank questioned the transaction and the man was unable to get access to more cash. The criminal had disappeared by the time the victim returned to the car. No work whatsoever has been carried out to the property.

We are working closely with banks and potential victims to stop this despicable form of crime. However, we always rely on information from the public to help close the net over these people. Please contact us on 03454 04 05 06 if you have any information about rogue traders operating in Solihull.

 

 

Can you help Trading Standards?

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Solihull Trading Standards are calling out for help from local businesses to support a valued and rewarding community project.

Each year, young people aged between 13-17 with special educational needs from local schools come together to take part in the Consumer Challenge Quiz.

The quiz is part of a National Trading Standards initiative, encouraging young people with learning difficulties to become more informed consumers. It is also intended to boost their self esteem, team working and life skills.

As part of the regional heats we present the young people with ‘goody bags’, and we are looking for the support of businesses in the local community to help us by making contributions to the goody bags and prizes for the team members.

The quiz takes place on 17th March and any assistance businesses could offer would be greatly received.  We will ensure that your business is named and recognised as a sponsor in any press releases.

 

 

Highs legal for not much longer…

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Solihull Trading Standards joined forces with West Midlands Police yesterday (Thursday 21st January) to visit and give advice to premises in the area that sell seemingly innocuous ‘legal highs.’

New Psychoactive Substances (NPSs) have hit the headlines in recent months after a catalogue of tragic deaths resulted from people using them.

The ‘legal’ part will soon be a misnomer, however. Legislation comes into force in April that will make it a criminal offence to sell these substances. As you can see from the pictured packets above, found openly on sale in a Solihull shop, there is NO indication whatsoever as to what you are actually buying. For all you know you could be eating or smoking anything. Would you trust the ‘manufacturer’ of this type of product to sincerely have your health and wellbeing as their primary concern?

The exercise was designed to give advice to retailers about the risks of these products and to provide prior warning about the changes to the law that will follow. It is also hoped that the considerable dangers inherent in using these type of products will be widely publicised.

‘I can see why people commit suicide over this’

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It is sad that many people dismiss repeat victims of scams as somehow unintelligent or naive. Many of us are incredulous how people can fall for such seemingly transparent cons. However, when you deal day to day with the hard reality of this type of crime you quickly see a different side to the story.

Mr X who lives in Solihull is an 88 year old man who has struggled for years with an incessant barrage of phone calls and letters peddling ‘investments’ and money recovery deals. He has paid out over £100,000 to fraudsters. The scams range from diamond investments, fine wine, carbon credits and land banking schemes. He is an aware,  intelligent person who worked for years within the financial sector.

Solihull Trading Standards have visited and spoken to the gentleman on many occaions. It has taken up to two years for us to convince him to change his telephone number to stop these rogues contacting him. He has always been reluctant to do this because he was afraid that family and friends would not be able to contact him. He said to us that he feels like a prisoner in his own home and he can understand ‘why people commit suicide over this.’

It is a sad fact of life that we live in a more cynical, suspicous age . Mr X believes what people say to him and implicitly trusts that the ‘deal’ he has entered into will be honoured. It has taken a very long time to convince him that the people who call him are only after ONE thing.  The criminal world has evolved and he cannot conceive the fact that people will make false promises and say anything to get his money.

There are many people out there who are very vulnerable and at risk of being targeted by criminals. As soon as they fall for one con they WILL be approached again.

If you are concerned about a Solihull resident or feel that you yourself have been affected by a scam please call us via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.

Solihull Multi Agency vehicle check uncovers some seriously heavy loads

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Solihull Trading Standards joined forces today with Solihull Licensing, West Midlands Police, HM Revenue & Customs and other agencies to carry out checks on vehicles travelling in the Solihull area.

On a particularly ‘crisp’ January day, taxis, vans, lorries and cars were stopped and numerous checks were made in relation to their roadworthiness and overall legality. Solihull Trading Standards dealt with several cases of vehicles being unsafely overweight. One van was almost 1.5 TONNES over the legal limit and constituted a grave danger to its driver and other road users. We will take the appropriate action in dealing with the offences.

Solihull will continue to do our utmost in 2016 to ensure that the public in the borough are safe. If you have any information that would suggest otherwise please contact us via Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.

 

Warning over possible scam caller offering health and safety advice on behalf of Solihull Council

coldcallersWe all receive many unwanted sales calls at home but we have received a report that a Solihull resident has had an unsolicited telephone call from someone who was claiming to be working on a joint initiative between the Council and Government.

The caller was apparently promoting a scheme to provide health and safety within the home with a device that will alert the appropriate emergency service in the event of an incident. So if there’s a fire – the fire brigade will turn up; a burglary – then the police are contacted or a fall in the home – an ambulance would be called. The caller was suspicious so challenged them and they hung up.

Solihull Council and West Midlands Police can confirm that we are not promoting such a scheme.

A way of reducing the amount of unsolicited calls you receive is by registering with the Telephone Preference Service.

If you would like any advice on scams please contact Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06.

Homebuyers Beware!! Couple lose £45,000

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Newlyweds Sarah and Richie Tough had been on the verge of securing their new dream home in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire. The first-time buying couple had been saving for 10 years for their £45,000 deposit.

Everything was going smoothly when they received an email from their conveyancing firm stating that the deposit was ready to be paid. A few days later another email arrived that appeared to be from the same company, stating that the cash should instead be paid directly into a Barclays Bank branch, with the account number and sort code provided.

The cash was duly paid.

But when Sarah spoke to her solicitors a couple of days later, they said they hadn’t received the cash and, the email regarding the change of plan had not been sent by them.

She told the Daily Mail: “I was sitting at my desk in pieces. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was just in complete disbelief that everything we had saved had gone.

“It makes me sick to my stomach that someone could even think of doing something like this.

“It was our money for our future, we had been saving for ages — and now it is gone.”

This is becoming a common scam and the effects can be devastating. Double-check, triple-check with the legitimate company befor you pay ANY money over

 

20,000 potentially ‘lethal’ electrical goods seized in London

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Over 20,000 electrical goods have been seized during a massive, London-wide raid.

22 Trading Standards Officers, together with police, customs and immigration teams, descended on a warehouse in Enfield on 15th December 2015. The co-ordinated action was part of a project funded by National Trading Standards to combat sales of dangerous imports.

Goods inluding laptop chargers, adapters, Christmas lights, PC tablets and sat navs were seized during the raid.

See the article below for more information:

http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Directory/News/HF_trading_standards_officers_seize_potentially_dangerous_goods_in_Xmas_raid.asp

Solihull Trading Standards have been extensively involved in combatting the rising tide of cheap, unsafe electrical goods coming into the country through Birmingham Airport. We will continue to work closely with Border Force to stop illegal goods getting through.

Rogue builder sentenced to 6 years in jail

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A major investigation by Kent Trading Standards has resulted in a 6 year prison term for a serial rogue trader.

Alfie Ackleton, 35, of Gravesend, conned one victim out of £288,000 for work that should have cost £26,000 at the most. The victim lost his entire inheritance. Another two vulnerable consumers were fleeced out of a further £22,000.

Ackleton pleaded guilty to the charges but went on the run prior to sentencing. He was eventually arrested at another victim’s house after an anoymous tip off.

See the article below here for more details:

http://portfolio.cpl.co.uk/TS-Today/201601/news-2/