Fraud fighting residents receive awards

Derbyshire residents who helped tackle fraudsters have been handed a national award at a meeting of Derbyshire County Council’s full council.

The award winners impressed the county council’s trading standards officers with their efforts in fighting scams and rogue traders and they nominated them for national Trading Standards Institute awards for their bravery and hard work.

As the successful nominees could not attend the ceremony in Brighton last month, they were presented with their awards on July 24 by county council Chairman Councillor Dave Wilcox.

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Brian and Kandy Smith were two of the award winners 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 in South Derbyshire, 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 received 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.

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“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 bring criminal Amarjit Gill to justice were also recognised. Valerie Shaw, from Matlock, picked up a Certificate of Commendation on behalf of her late mother Mary Wallace, who played a vital role in the court case, and other campaigners who produced statements.

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: “It’s been great meeting the people who help our trading standards team tackle fraudsters in Derbyshire.

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“There’s a lot we couldn’t do without the help of residents like Brian and Kandy who go out of their way to raise awareness for issues that affect residents across the county.

“The bravery demonstrated by those involved in the Amarjit case is equally inspirational and we hope their actions encourage others with concerns of fraudulent traders to come forward.”