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 Doorstep traders arrested and £50,000 seized by police

 19/11/2020

​Fraudsters have been warned that they have no ‘plaice’ in our community after two doorstep traders were arrested and around £50,000 seized. 


The slippery pair was tracked down following reports salesmen had been targeting the elderly and selling cheap fish at extortionate prices. 


On Tuesday officers from North East Regional Special Operations Unit (NERSOU) teamed up with Trading Standards and the National Crime Agency to execute four warrants at properties in Chester-le-Street and Gosforth.


A total of £50,000 in cash was seized from one of the properties in Chester-le-Street and two men, aged 63 and 43, were arrested on suspicion of money laundering. They have since been released under investigation.


Kev Benson, Government Agency Intelligence Network (GAIN) coordinator at NERSOU, helped run the operation and has called on communities to pull together to help tackle illegal doorstep trading.


He said: “We know there are many businesses that have had to adapt to a new way of working and offer customers door to door services and home deliveries.


“Unfortunately there are some unscrupulous people out there who will be looking to take advantage of this and exploit the vulnerable and the elderly to make money.


“In this case, we were alerted to reports of elderly people being approached and sold a cheap item at a really high price from someone posing as a reputable salesmen.


“I want to reassure the public we will continue to pursue illicit doorstep traders and will continue to do this alongside our partners.


“But we’re also asking our communities to be vigilant – please look out for your neighbours, relatives and anyone who might be shielding at home.


“Remind them to look for ID cards and challenge doorstep traders and never be pressured into buying anything at their front door. Always trust your instinct and report anything which doesn’t seem right.”


Anyone who wants to report fraud can do so by calling police on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.