DERBYSHIRE: Reward for fraud fighters

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Derbyshire residents who helped tackle fraudsters will be rewarded for their bravery and hard work at a prestigious national awards ceremony.

Success in the Trading Standards Institute awards follow nominations made by Derbyshire County Council’s trading standards officers who were impressed with efforts made by all the award winners in combatting fraudsters.

Among the crime fighters are Brian and Kandy Smith who set up a group called Scams and Prize Cheque Offences to raise awareness of the effects scam mail has on vulnerable people.

The couple, from Ingleby, started the group after discovering Kandy’s grandfather had spent £50,000 responding to 150 letters a month offering him false investment opportunities.

The couple will receive the National Hero Award and are thrilled to see their work being recognised.

Brian said: “It’s fantastic news – we’re absolutely delighted and it’s wonderful to see our work being recognised by Derbyshire trading standards.

“It means a lot to us because we’ve been affected personally by scam mail and the recognition gives us some hope that we’re getting somewhere.

“Although it’s great for us, we hope it helps spread more awareness about this awful crime which affects more than 50,000 people across the UK.”

Witnesses from Long Eaton who bravely came forward to help Derbyshire trading standards bring criminal Amarjit Gill to justice have also been recognised and will pick up a Certificate of Commendation at the ceremony.

Gill traded nationally under different names from premises in Long Eaton selling mobility aids. He targeted older people and used high pressure selling methods as well as inflating prices and failing to honour cancellation rights.

Derbyshire County Council Deputy Cabinet Member for Health and Communities, Councillor Ellie Wilcox, said: “We have a strong trading standards team in Derbyshire but there’s a lot they couldn’t do without the help of residents.

“I can’t stress enough how much we appreciate people like Brian and Kandy who go out of their way to raise awareness for issues that affect residents across the county every day.

“These awards are an excellent way of saying thank you and we hope others will be encouraged to follow in their footsteps.”

The awards will be presented at the Trading Standards Institute’s conference in Brighton on Thursday 20 June.