ROGUE traders were targeted by the police and Trading Standards officers during a week-long national enforcement and awareness initiative.

More than 450 officers took part in Operation Rogue Trader 2014 in Lancashire, targeting crooks who pose as bogus officials or pursue elderly and vulnerable members of the public to carry out unnecessary or overly expensive work to properties.

Almost 1,627 homes were visited last week, along with 73 repeat victims, and 29 new ‘no cold calling’ areas were established.

Officers also attended numerous community events and gave presentations highlighting the dangers that consenting to have work carried out by cold callers can bring.

In total 87 traders were checked while carrying out repairs to properties and a total of 16 were arrested during the operation for a variety of offences.

Chief Inspector Mike Adamson said: “Together with Trading Standards we have made a substantial contribution to safeguard some of our most vulnerable residents and to educate the community about the tactics used by rogue traders.

“The police will continue to work with partners on similar operations to target and prosecute those involved in rogue trader offences.”

Trading Standards lead officer for doorstep crime, Steve Playle, said: “Operation Rogue Trader is a fantastic initiative that brings together Trading Standards officers and police officers in order to tackle the menace of criminals who cause enormous emotional distress and massive financial detriment to so many householders across the country.

“The activities of cold calling home maintenance rogues are often linked to the activities of distraction burglars and all the evidence shows that it’s 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 at your door.”