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Gang Takes Ferry Option 4 September 2007

For the second time within six months, the Island was recently targeted by a gang of East European itinerants. The alleged fraudsters arrived by ferry overnight and left the Island later the same day having been tracked down by the police and Office of Fair Trading enforcement officers.

In the short time that they were in the Island, members of the gang harassed members of the public, in some cases making them feel very uneasy. Many people who had been approached by members of the gang subsequently contacted either the Office of Fair Trading or the police.

When the police and Trading Standards enforcement officers caught up with members of the gang in Peel, they were advised of the law and left in no uncertain terms that positive enforcement action might ensue if their unacceptable behaviour continued. The itinerants then went straight down to the Sea Terminal to book on the next ferry.

John Peet, Chief Inspector of Trading Standards at the Office of Fair Trading, said: “This is yet another example of our enforcement officers working with the police on information provided by ever vigilant members of the public to swiftly rid the Island of nuisance and allegedly fraudulent gangs of itinerants.

Criminal prosecutions are an option but generally the gangs leave the Island forthwith when they are advised of the law and made aware of the fact that the Island is not part of the UK.

Obviously, we would not hesitate to take positive enforcement action if there were any instances of serious or repeated breaches of trading standards legislation. We have done so in the past on many occasions.

We will continue to tackle these gangs with the help of the police to send out a clear message that we will not allow them to operate their various scams in the Island.”

Quintin Gill MHK, Chairman of the Office of Fair Trading, said: “Our enforcement officers do a lot of work to prevent these gangs taking advantage of members of the public. More often than not any problems are nipped in the bud with the help of the police.

In the past, gangs of itinerants from the UK and Ireland have targeted the Island, often selling power tools and carpets, and now the Island has been targeted by gangs made up of East Europeans.

This is both a consumer protection and a social well-being issue.

The working relationship between the Office and the police is excellent and this latest joint effort to rid the Island of alleged fraudsters simply reinforces that relationship.

Members of the public approached by members of these gangs should not hesitate to contact the either the Office of Fair Trading or the police.”

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