Message sent by Mark Jones (Police, Media Officer, Wiltshire)
Operation Arwen is a National Trading Standards Operation targeting the selling of fish door to door by salesmen from the North of England.
Customers find themselves forced into buying a vast amount of fresh fish. The volumes and the price charged are never discussed.
The victims are often told to enter their card PINs without checking the amount charged. It is only later that the amounts paid are discovered to be excessive.
There are various tactics and techniques used, e.g. telling the victim to go outside in direct sunlight to complete the transaction and holding the machine into the sun at the time payment is requested. The receipts are put in the bags of fish, which allows the receipt to become wet and unreadable.
The salesmen will often target old peoples complexes, offering “a pensioners’ special deal.” The salesmen do not provide any prices for the fish and neither do they carry price lists. Victims are often supplied with a mixture of fish, which consists mainly of Hake and Coley – cheaper varieties of fish.
There have been a number of reported cases of over charging in Wiltshire – an incident in Marlborough and Bromham and two in Melksham.
Detective Sergeant Andrew Lemon, Wiltshire Police, said: “This is blatantly over charging and targeting members of the public who are vulnerable and elderly.
“On Tuesday 2nd June 2015, two males were arrested in Market Lavington on suspicion of Fraud by False Representation. They have been released on conditional police bail. They are aged 54 and 21 and are from the North East of the UK.
“We are appealing to members of the public, who may have purchased fresh fish from a door to door salesman or from a company called North Shore Fish, based in Durham, to come forward. We also want to hear from anyone who believes they may have been over charged or has any other concerns in relation to incidents like these.
“Please contact myself, Detective Sergeant Andrew Lemon at Wiltshire Police on 101, anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or call Wiltshire Trading Standards Department on 0300 456 0107.