Highs legal for not much longer…

Yooba

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.

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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

 

‘Firefighter’ selling fire extinguishers door to door

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Solihull Trading Standards have received a report from a resident on Sharmans Cross Road about a door to door fire extinguisher sales woman.

The incident took place at 7pm yestersday (Tuesday 05th January). The caller is described as an asian female in her 20s with long dark hair. She claimed to be a ‘firefighter’ when the resident asked who was at the door.

West Midlands Fire Service do NOT sell fire extinguishers door to door and if someone claims they are operating on their behalf then it is NOT true.

If you have any more information about this or any potential rogue trader please contact us on 03454 04 05 06.

Birmingham couple’s £14,824 Instagram iPhone con

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A Birmingham husband and wife conned more than 50 victims into buying non-existent iPhones and watches on Instagram.

Saqib Bashir and his wife Rimla Chaudurey made almost £14,824 by setting up a string of bogus web companies between September 2013 and April 2014.

They advertised the valuables online and simply pocketed the cash from the orders they received.

But they were arrested in January last year and later charged with fraud when angry customers called in the police.

Bashir, 27, and his 24-year-old wife, from Washwood Heath, were each handed eight-month suspended jail sentences at Birmingham Crown Court.

The court was told the pair used bogus online firms called Cosmetic Bargains, Alinas Accessories, Designer Discounts, Crystal Discounts, Designer Boutique, Designer Couture, and Beauty Boutiqu3 to dupe customers.

Bashir initially denied the offence, claiming he had never heard of Cosmetic Bargains and did not use Instagram.

He also denied being linked to bank accounts or mobile phone numbers used in the con and maintained the pair were victims of identity theft.

But when detectives provided more evidence – including proof that a web page for Cosmetic Bargains was created on their home computer – they eventually admitted fraud by false representation.

Investigating officer Matt Leach, from West Midlands Economic Crime Unit, said: “They used ten different bank accounts – one of which was linked to 23 frauds – and six Instagram accounts offering items for sale.

“Customers parted with sums ranging from £52 to £1,000.

“Many of these were birthday and Christmas presents so they are responsible for creating a lot of upset and worry among the people they deceived.”

(Source – Birmingham Mail)

On patrol with West Midlands Police

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Solihull Trading Standards were out on patrol with West Midlands Police yesterday. Our working relationship with the police force is becoming closer and closer and our joint patrols around the borough will be a regular sight in the months to come.

A van was seized for having no insurance and valuable intelligence gathered during the patrol.

Enfocement bodies are pooling their resources in this climate of austerity and combining their skills to target criminals operating in Solihull. If you have any information for us that could lead to illegal trading activity being stopped please call us on 03454 04 05 06.

 

Out with Milo and West Midlands Police…

Wagtail UK training at simulated shop

 

Sniffer dog Milo, Solihull Trading Standards and West Midlands Police were out and about in the borough yesterday.

Milo did a great job and seemed to really enjoy helping us carry out inspections at a number of shops to make sure that illegal tobacco is not being secretly stashed to sell.

We found a small quantity of non duty paid cigarettes but we are glad to say that the majority of shops only had legitimate goods. However, we will continue to keep our eyes and ears open for any hint of illegal merchandise being sold in Solihull!

If you have any information about illegal tobacco or alcohol being sold in the borough you can call us confidentially on 03454 04 05 06.

 

Be aware of distraction burglary

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(Article taken from //www.facebook.com/solihullpolice)

Elderly residents in the West Midlands are collectively being conned out of a fortune by cruel conmen who trick their way inside homes – we are urging everyone to play their part in protecting the region’s pensioners.

Latest crime figures recorded by us show that 324 residents – mainly older, vulnerable people – have been duped in the last 12 months by distraction burglars posing as officials, workmen and even police officers.

We are urging everyone to be alert to the threat and help spread the word to be wary of dodgy doorstep callers.

If in doubt keep them out and call the police on 999. 101 is to be called in non-emergencies.

Dixie sniffs out another stash

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Dixie the springer spaniel sniffed out 16,500 cigarettes and 3.5kg of hand-rolling tobacco as 12 premises in Glasgow were targeted by Trading Standards and HM Revenue & Customs.

See an article about the find here:

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/dog-detective-dixie-helps-seize-6041124

Solihull Trading Standards have used specially trained dogs in the past (and will be doing so in the near future) to check premises for artfully concealed stashes of illegal tobacco. These may be counterfeit or non duty paid goods VERY carefully hidden from our prying eyes.

Just to show you the lengths to which people will go to in concealing their dodgy stuff Solihull Trading Standards recently seized illegal tobacco concealed inside a hollowed out fire extinguisher, stereo speakers and in the cash till itself!

Sellers of illegal goods are going to increasingly bizarre lengths to cover up their crimes. We are utilising every method we can get to stop them. If you believe illegal tobacco or alcohol is being sold in Solihull please call us on 03454 05 06. These people undermine legitimate traders and will often be involved in more serious crimes.

 

Bogus repairmen steal £9,000 from elderly man

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Thieves posing as repairmen are thought to have stolen around £9,000 from an 85 year old man.

One of the men took the man to the rear of his property after saying he was inspecting faulty guttering while the other man rooted through the house and stole a large quantity of cash.

See the full article here:

https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/latest-news/news2.aspx?id=3752V

Distraction burglary is a common crime. Please beware of leaving your property unattended at ANY time.

Out in Solihull with WM Police speaking to firework sellers

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Over the last few nights we have been out and about in Solihull speaking to the owners of shops who sell fireworks to the public. We have advised on policies in place ensuring that fireworks are NOT sold to under 18s, safe storage and clear displays. Have a safe bonfire night and enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!