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Consumer Slot

 

Your correspondent is shamelessly using Trading Standards press releases for this editions’s Consumer Slot. Only one of the three heroes described below is local to the area, but the stories are inspiring, and would otherwise be unheard so please forgive this indulgence. All three have this summer received Hero Awards from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) for their efforts for their community, and their bravery.

Based in Derbyshire, Michael Redfern is recognised by CTSI for tirelessly facilitating the removal of animals from premises where animal welfare has been compromised. Michael has come to the aid of trading standards services across the UK, often at short notice to help remove livestock, and has proven invaluable.

The seizure of any animal is a costly exercise and given the constraints that local governments face, Michael has been extremely efficient in ensuring that costs are kept to a minimum whilst welfare standards are maintained at the highest level. This has over the years proven priceless to Principal Trading Standards Officer, Stephanie Young, who nominated Michael for this award.

Stephanie said: “Michael always works above and beyond the expected. Without him and his family’s assistance, the trading standards team would not be in a position to remove animals where welfare is compromised. Unnecessary suffering is being stopped in its tracks and that’s why we nominated Michael to be recognised as a CTSI hero.” Sir Patrick McLoughlin, MP for Derbyshire Dales, collected the award on behalf of Michael, who was unable to attend the ceremony.

Leeds-based, Sigrid Hambly, 79, a scam mail target for eight years, received the Hero Award, after becoming a National Trading Standards (NTS) Mail Marshall this year. Sigrid had previously fallen victim to a prize draw scam after experiencing personal financial difficulties but during a visit from West Yorkshire Trading Standards decided to join the NTS Scams Team’s Mail Marshall Scheme to “share what she had learned about avoiding scams.”

Sigrid has made it her personal mission to ensure the vulnerable in her community don’t become victims, even describing it as ‘her job,’ in spite of her personal suffering from mini-strokes.

Working with West Yorkshire Trading Standards SAFER teams and the local police, Sigrid arranged a number of scams and fraud prevention workshops at various locations in her community to raise awareness. Sigrid was nominated by Yvette Sheldon, Project Officer for West Yorkshire Trading Standards, who said: “Sigrid’s passion to protect other members of her community is simply inspiring. She is an excellent champion of the work trading standards does and an asset to the community.

Stevenage-based Maev Dunmore, 70, found the strength after losing £28,500 to a roofing scam to help Hertfordshire Trading Standards put the rogue behind bars. Maev has been recognised with the Hero Award in recognition of her steadfast resolve after losing substantial amounts to the rogue.

Thomas Lee, of Orpington Kent, who at the time of the crime was 24, pleaded guilty in October 2017 and was sentenced to 40 months custodial with a hidden assets order made.

Initially Maev found herself under investigation by the police for money laundering after her bank reported the large sums of money being withdrawn and cash transferred to the rogue builder. They quickly understood that she was a victim and the case was referred to Hertfordshire Trading Standards.

Despite deteriorating health and persistent coercion from the scammers, once the scam was identified Maev was able to summon the courage to help her local trading standards service and bring her scammer to justice. Over a lengthy two-year trial, Maev remained dignified and supportive of her local service, even with the knowledge that she could not recover her lost money.

Maev was nominated by Yvonne Bartlett, Senior Trading Standards Officer for Hertfordshire County Council, who said: “Maev was left feeling very nervous, totally inadequate and frightened. And yet, she fully supported the investigation, never making any demands on the service, even when informed she could not get her money back. She is a brave lady and a real-life hero.

I’ve written before about how scammers can and will take advantage of the vulnerable. If you are worried about a family member or a neighbour call Citizens Advice on 03454 04 05 06. They will pass the details on to Trading Standards if necessary.

 

Cliff Shining