Are you sitting comfortably... Northamptonshire police rap driver for carrying sofa on car roof
Plastic wrapping fails sofa safety check in Towcester Road car park
Stunned traffic cops needed a sit down after finding a SOFA perched precariously on a car roof during routine traffic checks.
Officers from Northamptonshire Police Safer Roads Unit were working alongside Trading Standards teams looking out for rogue traders when they made the alarming discovery in the car park of a Towcester Road retail park.
They discovered the couch had been plonked on top of a Nissan Qashqai and was being held on with just one bit of flimsy plastic wrapping.
The driver was given "advice" on how to secure it properly before being allowed to continue with his furniture.
Last week's operation, which also included teams from HMRC and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, saw dozens of vehicles stopped for checks, with 19 traders spoken to by Trading Standards officers and given advice to help them trade fairly, safely and honestly.
A scrap metal collector and a tree surgeon will have further checks carried out to ensure they have the correct waste carrier’s licences.
Faulty lights, bald tyres, overloaded vehicles and a motorist without a licence were among the issues dealt with by other agencies during the operation.
Operation Rogue Trader is a regional multi-agency campaign coordinated by Trading Standards East Midlands which aims to target doorstep crimes, especially distraction burglaries and rogue trader offences. It also allows participating authorities to proactively target criminal behaviour, and raise awareness amongst the most vulnerable groups.
PC David Lee from the Police Safer Roads Team described the car with a sofa on top as "an interesting stop" and added: “These types of operations are crucial in tackling the dangerous and un-roadworthy vehicles that are out there on the roads.
“The very first vehicle stopped in the check site had a bald tyre and a driver without a driving licence, which set the pace of this two-day operation.
“Working with partner agencies allow us to come together and tackle these types of vehicles that are being used illegally, as often they aren’t just of interest to the police.”
Cllr David Smith, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services on West Northamptonshire Council, added: “Rogue traders and doorstep fraudsters’ prey on the most vulnerable in society, and operations like this allow us to work closely with the police and other agencies to target the culprits and safeguard potential victims.
“This campaign is part of a wider strategy to ensure trading standards and the police can work together so there’s no place for these kinds of criminals to hide. It also helps raise awareness of doorstep crime and helps us to prevent innocent people from falling victim.”
■ Anyone who suspects rogue doorstep traders or distraction burglars are operating in their community can contact the dedicated Doorstep Crime Action Network on 0345 23 07 702.
For more information about Buy With Confidence, the Trading Standards approved trader scheme, visit https://www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or phone 01392 383430.
Trading Standards in partnership with Northamptonshire Police can also provide No Cold Calling stickers on request by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. They can also provide consumers with information about their legal civil rights.