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Council warn businesses of rogue traders offering tool sharpening services

Cumbria County Council say the rogue traders are registered as companies abroad Credit: PA

Cumbria County Council are warning local business to be wary of cold callers offering tool sharpening services.

They say the traders usually offer to demonstrate their skills and provide an estimate before returning to take tools to be sharpened.

The council is warning that the traders make misleading claims with regards to how their prices are calculated and return days later with the tool, demanding thousands of pounds from the business.

When the businesses (which have included engineering and building firms) refuse to pay, they say the rogue traders then make aggressive demands for the money in person, by phone and email - causing serious disruption to the business.

The rogue traders are believed to frequently change their business name and telephone numbers, but maintain the same methods. The paperwork provided will appear legitimate, however the company is registered abroad.

If you run a business that is likely to use power tools or other blades, be on your guard. If you are approached, we advise you decline the offer of the service and report the incident to Trading Standards or the Police.

We strongly advise businesses to only use trusted traders and not to agree to services offered by passing tradesmen. Businesses can find a list of approved and reputable traders in their area on the Business Approval register at www.businessapprovalregister.com.

– John Greenbank, Trading Standards Manager for Cumbria County Council

For more information, or to make a report, you can contact the Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454040506 or you can contact Cumbria Police on 101.

Police warn of betting scam after man duped out of £20,000

Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Police Scotland has issued a warning after a man in Dumfries and Galloway was defrauded out of over £20,000.

The man was first contacted in February this year via a letter from someone claiming to be from Stafford offering to place bets on his behalf. For the next few weeks this arrangement was carried out and the man from Dumfries and Galloway made money.

However the man then lost money when he was persuaded to become involved in Anti-Post betting, for which he provided large sums of money with the promise of profits in return. He has so far received nothing and is unable to contact the person responsible for taking his money.

Police have warned against the dangers of getting involved is such 'easy money' schemes with cold callers. They have also asked anyone with information on the scheme, or any that are similar, to contact them.

Former employee of Cumbria Constabulary sentenced for fraud and theft

Mr McFadden was working for Cumbria Constabulary at the time of the offences Credit: PA

A former employee of Cumbria Constabulary from Wigton has been sentenced for two counts of Fraud by False Representation, and three counts of Theft by Employee.

Melvin McFadden, aged 58, was sentenced to 84 days, suspended for 12 months, at Kendal Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to all the offences.

McFadden was employed by Cumbria Constabulary at the time of the offences as a Front Counter Clerk, a civilian staff member.

He was arrested on 24th November 2014, following an investigation into fraudulent vouchers that were used in a supermarket.

These vouchers had been originally seized by an officer in relation to a criminal investigation, and had been placed in the property store at Carlisle Police Station.

Mr McFadden was responsible for destroying these vouchers, but instead stole them and used them to pay for fuel. Further gift vouchers and other stolen items were found at his home address, some of which he had previously claimed to have destroyed.

The Constabulary have invited anyone with concerns about a police employee to contact the police on 101.

“We are committed to serving and protecting the public and it is vital that our communities have trust and confidence in Cumbria Constabulary.

“We expect the highest standards of professionalism, integrity, and conduct from all police staff at all times.

"We take any allegations of dishonesty very seriously and our Professional Standards Department will investigate any complaint thoroughly and impartially, and take action where appropriate."

– DCI Michelle Skeer

Fraudsters posing as police target Borders' farmers

Fraudsters posing as police officers have been targeting farmers in the Scottish Borders.

The criminals have been calling farmers, claiming to be police officers and pleading for donations to a bogus charity.

Two farmers from the Selkirkshire area have been contacted by a caller claiming to be from Police Scotland and asking them to support a campaign fighting juvenile crime against agricultural workers.

The caller asked for a three-figure sum starting at £200 and then lowered it to what the farmer was willing to pay.

Detectives are urging farmers in the Scottish Borders to remain vigilant and not to give any money to someone pretending to be a police officer.

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Police warn public to be aware of cold callers

Cumbria Police are warning members of the community to be aware of illegitimate cold callers.

Fraudsters are telephoning people under the pretence of offering free home alarm systems but not disclosing installation or annual fees, which can be very expensive. Police have also received reports of cold callers working in the Carlisle area, visiting people’s properties and offering to repair damaged driveways.

The police are advising everyone to use caution if they receive a cold call. Never give any personal details over the phone and if unsure- hang up. If someone is at the door ask for identification, if they are unable to provide- shut the door.

“People should always be cautious and aware if they have received a cold call. Not providing any personal details and being vigilant can help prevent you becoming a victim of fraud.”

– Claire Stevens, Crime Prevention Officer

Man defrauded after selling £32,000 of coins on eBay

Police are investigating after a man sold £32,000 worth of coins on eBay without receiving any payment.

The 70-year-old from Inverurie, Scotland was contacted by a man called 'Peter', asking to buy the collection of 52 London Mint coins.

He was defrauded over the space of two weeks:

  • 13 September - 'Peter' pays a fraudulent cheque from ‘Repack Services Limited' into a bank in Bury
  • 15 September - Victim arranges to meet ‘Peter’ at the Southwaite Services, just outside Carlisle on the M6 Southbound. ‘Peter’ sends an alleged courier called ‘Dave’
  • 18 September - The victim checked his bank account to find the money had been removed from his account, as the cheque was not honoured by the issuing bank as it was a forgery

‘Dave’ is described as a white man in his 50s.

In light of this crime the Police are urging anyone buying and selling items on the internet to be careful:

“This is obviously a large amount of money, and we are working hard to try and find whoever is responsible for this despicable fraud and bring them to justice. I would urge anyone who is aware of any coins matching the description above being sold to contact Cumbria Police on 101. I would also like to use this opportunity to urge people to be cautious when buying or selling goods over the internet. It can be a great way of selling specialist items and bringing like-minded people together – however, people do need to be careful when doing financial transactions over the internet.”

– DC Vicky Hughes, Cumbria Constabulary

Anyone with any information can call Cumbria Police on 101 and ask for Carlisle CID, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information on how to stay safe online click here.

Guilty verdict, tax evasion trial

A man has been found guilty of failing to pay Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs more than £600,000. After a six week trial the jury at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court took just over an hour to return a guilty verdict on Steven Maxwell who is 53.

Maxwell, of Wallach Court, Dalbeattie had denied operating a fraudulent scheme between 1999 and May 2008 by pretending to HMRC that he had no taxable income and wasn't liable for income tax or National Insurance. He evaded paying £635,015 to HMRC.

The jury heard that Maxwell used offshore companies to conceal his income which was said to be up to £800 a day. Maxwell was remanded in custody until April 26 for the preparation of reports.

Jury out on tax evasion case

The Maxwells Credit: ITV Border

The jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of a man accused of avoiding paying tax and national insurance contributions totalling more than £600,000. Steven Maxwell, 52, of Wallach Court, Dalbeattie, has been on trial at Kirkcudbright Sheriff Court for the past six weeks.

He is facing charges of pretending to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs that he had no taxable income over a nine year period to May 2008. It is alleged that he evaded paying £635,015 to HMRC and retained the money for his own use. His wife was cleared of the charges earlier on in the trial.

Maxwell, who was said to be earning £800 a day working for as an information technology consultant for JP Morgan Chase Bank and Deutsche Bank, was originally charged with avoiding payments of more than £1.7 million but this was reduced.

Maxwell, who was said to own offshore companies in the Isle of Man and Gibralter, is also accused of putting assets beyond the reach of creditors, in particular HMRC, by purchasing Barncailzie Hall at Springholm, near Castle Douglas.

He is accused of making the purchase in the name of his company Gateway 3000 UK limited which was register in the Isle of Man but was wholly owned and controlled by him.

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