Man arrested in connection with "bogus workman" offences
11th January 2019
Police in Lochaber can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged consumer protection offences in Fort William.
It follows an investigation by Police Scotland and Highland Council Trading Standards, after a report was received this week of "bogus workmen" in Fort William and alleged fraudulent activity relating to charges for work carried out on a house in the town.
The male was released pending further enquiries. It is anticipated that a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.
Constable Gavin Law, based at Fort William Police Station, said: "Bogus callers remain a persistent problem in our communities and can result in people being scammed out of a significant amount of money and left with a poor standard of work and on occasions left in dangerous condition.
"We continue to work closely with our partners at Highland Council Trading Standards in an effort to protect members of the public from falling victim to doorstep crime.
“Cold callers can come across as extremely convincing and will make every effort to pressure homeowners into parting with their money for a product or service they do not require.
“We recommend never paying for goods or services to strangers who turn up uninvited at your door.
“If you are aware of any suspicious activity taking place at the home of a neighbour, friend or family member then please contact police immediately.
“Genuine tradespeople will be more than happy to be spoken to by police as they have nothing to hide and are keen to protect their trade.
“We must send a strong message to criminals that doorstep crime activities will not be tolerated, and assure residents that all incidents reported are taken seriously and acted upon."
Mark McGinty, Trading Standards Team Leader, added: “Cancellation rights exist to allow the householder to change their mind when an uninvited caller persuades them to contract at their home.
"Also, not providing details such as a name and address means if something goes wrong the householder has no one to go back to, but more importantly, no one to enforce their consumer rights against and pursue a claim for redress.
"Bogus workmen, that is, illegal trade, often have no regard to cancellation rights or any other consumer rights, they will often hide their identity because they simply do not wish engage after they have taken the householders money, often for very substandard works."
If you have any concerns with regards to doorstep crime please contact Highland Council Trading Standards on 01463 228700, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or your local Police Scotland Preventions and Interventions Officer on 101 or 999 in an emergency situation.
Wick and East Caithness Councillor, Andrew Sinclair negotiates removal of proposed boundary changes from Community Council shake-up. Today (16th January 2019) at a Special Meeting of the Highland Council, controversial proposals which would have seen radical changes to the boundaries of two Caithness Community Councils were shelved following lobbying from Wick and East Caithness Councillor Andrew Sinclair.
On 22nd January 2019 the Moray West wind Farm planning application returns to the North Planning committee but merely for some slight changes to the location of some turbines to lessen the impact on certain views. The original permission and this one is not within the power of the committee but they have the ability to enter an objection.
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
Highland Council Trading Standards have produced guidance on how to spot the signs of scams that target businesses and also remind businesses to inform their employees on what to look out for when dealing with unsolicited telephone calls, emails and texts. All businesses as well as non-profit organisations (such as charitable organisations) may spend a lot of time dealing with potential scammers.
The Highland Council has written to parents and carers of school transport pupils to inform them that D&E Coaches have recently transferred a number of Highland Council contracts to Stagecoach and some school transport routes are included. These changes are to take effect from the first day back after the school holidays, Monday 7th January 2019 and timetables have been supplied for the routes affected.
Twenty nine members of The Highland Council's Care and Learning team have celebrated their success in completing the Council's 15 month ‘Lead On’ programme. ‘Lead On’, is a programme designed to develop practitioners’ understanding of change leadership and apply this through a change initiative in their place of work.
Highland Councillors are looking forward beyond the current Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and asking: "What next and where?". Following publication of the Deal's annual report, Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "A meeting will be convened in the New Year with Councillors who have a particular interest in the City-Region Deal to talk about where we can go next and what we can do.".
Work underway to determine Highland's Budget allocation. Commenting after the news received last night of Councils' individual allocations, from the Scottish Government’s draft Budget, Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "Having received the details of our allocation just last night, it will take some time to work through the proposed settlement and do a detailed analysis.
THROUGHOUT the month of November, The Highland Council's Chief Executive and members of the budget team have met with staff, groups and communities across the length and breadth of the Highlands. These sessions were part of a budget engagement exercise which also included facebook chats, survey, leaflet, video, and a budget challenge to raise awareness of budget challenges and gather views and priorities.
The Highland Council is to carry out a public consultation on the implementation of a transient visitor levy in the New Year. During the Council's public engagement activity during November, a strong theme was support for raising income from tourism, including a tourist levy, which could support local infrastructure, as well as the tourism sector itself.
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