Chartered Trading Standards Institute
Helping scam victims earns Hero Award for Northern Ireland Trading Standards Enforcement Officer
Alison Gilchrist, Northern Ireland’s Lead Officer on Doorstep Crime and Scams, has received the Trading Standards Hero Award from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) for her tireless work safeguarding victims and potential victims of scams and rogue traders, resulting in savings of over £1m.
She received the award at the annual Hero Awards ceremony, hosted by CTSI at the House of Lords on the evening of Wednesday 23 November, which recognised significant contributions to consumer protection across the UK.
Alison was nominated by Damien Doherty, Chief Inspector (Head of Service) at Northern Ireland Trading Standards, who said that the victims of scams and doorstep crime and their families often say that they could not have got through the stress and anxiety of their case without her.
In a recent case, Trading Standards Northern Ireland was contacted late on a Friday afternoon by a very emotional and distressed man who had been scammed out of a six figure sum, including all his savings and pension lump sum, by cryptocurrency fraudsters. The man said that he was in despair and ’just wanted to crawl into a hole’.
Alison spent many hours with the scam victim and, in conjunction with the Police Service for Northern Ireland, was able to console, comfort and support him through a very difficult time. As a result of Alison’s support, the man is now pursuing redress from his bank with continued help from Trading Standards and he no longer feels that he has to face this problem on his own.
Another case involved Alison’s dogged determination in bringing to justice criminals who intimidated a terminally ill elderly man into paying his life savings of thousands of pounds by repeatedly cold-calling at his door over a 10-day period to carry out – to a very poor standard – numerous home improvements that didn’t need doing.
Alison left no stone unturned and, although the main witness passed away before the case was concluded, her endeavours in getting support from medical professionals, the Police Service Northern Ireland and the Public Prosecution Service meant that the victim’s testimony was accepted as being admissible in court. The elderly victim stated that he wanted to see the case proceed even after his passing. The perpetrators were convicted and fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £4,700 compensation to the victim’s estate.
“I was very surprised and indeed humbled to find that I had been nominated for this award. I love my job and always treat victims as I would like someone to treat a member of my own family. Hopefully, I will be able to continue in this role for many years to come.”
CTSI Chief Executive, John Herriman, said:
“Alison is an inspiring, caring and devoted Trading Standards colleague who has worked tirelessly to protect victims of doorstep crime and scams.
“Alison continues to raise awareness of scams and doorstep and participate in national and regional prevention activities, such as the ‘Friends Against Scams’ campaign, which includes information on doorstep crime. She responds immediately to any complaints concerning doorstep crime that are brought to her attention.
“Alison was described in a letter of commendation from a member of the public as being ‘small in stature but huge of heart’. The great lengths she goes to in order to help those in difficulties has to be admired. She is a true Hero.
“The CTSI Hero Awards are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate remarkable individuals or groups of people who make outstanding contributions towards safeguarding vulnerable consumers in our communities. Every year, we are inspired by the stories of nominees throughout the country whose bravery, altruism and hard work often goes unnoticed. These awards honour those remarkable people who have gone the extra mile for consumers.”
Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) is a national not for profit established in 1881 which supports the UK’s trading standards profession and works to protect consumers and safeguard honest businesses. CTSI's members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services at local authorities and in businesses. www.tradingstandards.uk
Pictured from left to right: Louise Baxter, Head of the National Trading Standards Scam Team and Alison Gilchrist from Northern Ireland’s Lead Officer on Doorstep Crime and Scams.
Please contact CTSI Press Office: email@example.com for any queries.
Friends Against Scams
Friends Against Scams is a National Trading Standards (NTS) Scams Team initiative, which aims to protect and prevent people from becoming victims of scams.
|News & Policy||Trading Standards Professional||CTSI for Business||Leaving the EU||Working with Government|
Latest News from
Chartered Trading Standards Institute
CTSI and partners celebrate National Apprenticeship Week06/02/2023 16:15:00
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and Institute of Licensing (IoL) are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week by encouraging employers
Toy safety fears prompt BTHA to join CTSI’s Retained EU Law Bill campaign06/02/2023 12:10:00
The toy industry body is concerned that important toy safety laws could be lost, putting children at risk and harming British businesses.
Don’t let ‘toxic mould’ scammers into your home, CTSI warns25/01/2023 13:15:00
Cold-callers are targeting deprived areas with fake surveys and bogus energy-efficiency claims.
Celebrate safely this Chinese New Year20/01/2023 16:20:00
This Sunday (22 January) is Chinese New Year - the Year of the Rabbit. We want everyone to enjoy the celebrations safely so if you are planning to let off fireworks this year, please follow the guidance below. This information is also available in various languages via the links at the bottom of this page.
Scotland is cracking down on criminals using self storage facilities for illicit activities19/01/2023 16:10:00
Scotland is introducing the Tick Box Scheme to reduce the appeal of self storage facilities to criminals who deal in counterfeit and other illicit goods.
Illicit vapes top list of high street threats, say Trading Standards experts19/01/2023 09:25:00
Rise in illicit vapes and underage sales sparks alarm among consumer protection professionals.
CTSI calls for delay of Retained EU Law Bill as Lords express concerns11/01/2023 15:15:00
The consumer protection body agrees with peers’ criticisms of proposed Bill.
CTSI supports call for strengthened allergen rules21/12/2022 11:05:00
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has lent its support to calls for a stronger, more robust system to record incidences of anaphylaxis and to prevent the mislabelling of food containing allergens in the wake of the tragic death of Celia Marsh.