At a conference held at Essex trading standards HQ in Chelmsford last week, officers discussed how to beat criminal workmen who offer to resurface drives or lay down block paving and then demand excessively high payments, often with menace, for low quality work. It was agreed that sharing intelligence would help to strengthen trading standards fight against doorstep crime.
'It can be difficult to track these criminals because they are in an area for a very short time or live a considerable distance away', said Steve Lynch from Essex trading standards. 'By pooling our intelligence with our colleagues, we will be able to use our resources more effectively and will be able to take action when cowboys are operating in an area.
'Tarmac cowboys prey on the elderly and vulnerable. They use blackmail, burglary, theft, intimidation and deception to get extortionate payments for shoddy work', Steve explained.
Representatives from Bedfordshire, Havering, Herfordshire, Kent, Newham, Norfolk, Suffolk, Southend and Thurock trading standards attended.