ROGUE traders were targeted in a police crackdown aimed at protecting the vulnerable this week.

Safer Neighbourhood teams and officers from the Road Traffic Unit teamed up with Trading Standards officers to stop any tradesperson seen working on houses or in gardens on Wednesday.

This day of action was part of a week of activities taking places across the UK, led by Operation Liberal, the national intelligence unit for distraction burglary and associated travelling criminality, and Trading Standards.

Rogue traders are individuals or groups of people who cold-call householders, often targeting vulnerable residents, claiming to be a bona fide business and purporting to offer services, most commonly buildings maintenance and repair.

The offenders charge excessive fees for the work, yet the work that is carried out is either sub-standard or not carried out at all.

Crime prevention and design advisor for Dorset Police, Debbie Oldfield, said: “We actively supported this national day of action by working with Trading Standards officers to approach tradespeople carrying out work on homes across Dorset.

“Anyone found to be conning victims into paying for unnecessary or vastly overpriced work are dealt with accordingly.

“If you feel that you have been a victim of a rogue trader please do not feel embarrassed. Contact Dorset Police or Trading Standards and report it.

“By working together we can try to stop this sort of heinous crime.”

Steve Playle, Trading Standards institute lead officer for doorstep crime, said: “The activities of cold calling home maintenance rogues are often linked to the activities of distraction burglars and all the evidence shows that it is the elderly and vulnerable who are deliberately targeted by this crime.

“The simple message from Trading Standards is to always say 'no' to any traders offering to carry out work who unexpectedly turn up on your doorstep."

If you are concerned or intimidated by a caller at your door, call Dorset Police on 999.

For more information, or to report anything suspicious, please call Dorset Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.