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Hidden cameras keep track on Lowestoft's traders

PUBLISHED: 19:30 26 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:27 06 July 2010

Hayley Mace

From the outside it appears to be just like any other terraced house - the curtains are drawn and the garden has been tidied ready for the summer.

But the rooms inside are all under surveillance, giving trading standards officers the chance to keep an eye on Lowestoft's electricians, plumbers and television repairers.

From the outside it appears to be just like any other terraced house - the curtains are drawn and the garden has been tidied ready for the summer.

But the rooms inside are all under surveillance, giving trading standards officers the chance to keep an eye on Lowestoft's electricians, plumbers and television repairers.

A team from Suffolk Trading Standards has been renting a house in the south of the town for the past six months as part of a project to check that services being offered by local traders are fair and honest and that customers are not being overcharged.

Simple faults were put into household appliances, including the washing machine, cooker and television, and then traders were asked to come and fix the problem.

While they were in the house, their work was filmed by hidden cameras so the team could check that it had been carried out correctly and that nothing unnecessary had been charged for.

Reg Ruffles, Suffolk's assistant county trading standards officer, said: “This is a really important project, because when appliances go wrong, you don't usually know what the problem is so you're completely reliant on these traders to come and diagnose the problem and fix it honestly without ripping you off.”

t For more, see tomorrow's EDP

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