A CRACKDOWN on illegal traders and doorstep criminals who take advantage of vulnerable residents has been hailed a success.

Police officers teamed up with partner agencies to increase patrols and offer advice and reassurance to residents.

The clampdown came as part of a national day of action on Wednesday to target rogue traders who often profit unscrupulously from elderly and vulnerable victims.

During the operation officers gave four cars prohibition notices after deeming them so dangerous they were taken off the road there and then.

Around 150 other vehicles were also stop checked.

A man delivering leaflets to homes was also stopped and spoken to by officers.

Rogue trading refers to the practice of deliberately overcharging for unsatisfactory goods and services.

This includes charging of unnecessary work, damaging property deliberately in order to obtain money, leaving work unfinished and intimidating behaviour in order to exhort money.

Inspector Steve Griffiths, who co-ordinated the rogue trader operation in Cheshire, said: "Although the majority of traders out there are genuine, unfortunately there are people who take advantage and exploit the community, often those who are the most vulnerable in our society.

"Throughout the year we work with agencies to issue crime prevention advice as well as help residents know how to better protect themselves from illegal traders who try to deceive and manipulate them.

“This operation was another opportunity for us to further reassure the community and to send a clear message to rogue tradesman and cold callers that we will not allow them to cause such a devastating impact on residents.

"We will continue to deter those who commit these offences but I would also encourage the community to follow simple steps to help prevent these crimes as well as ask them to look out for the elderly or vulnerable neighbours."

David Keane, Cheshire police and crime commissioner, said: "One of my policing priorities is to support victims and protect the vulnerable and the impact that this kind of crime can have on victims is devastating- often bringing misery and causing long-term financial and emotional consequences.

"I will continue to support officers and partner agencies to raise awareness and help prevent residents from falling victim to these unscrupulous criminals.”

Residents are reminded to:

• Remain vigilant and always check the identity and credentials of anyone who calls at your home offering to carry out work.

• If you are in any doubt as to the identity of the person you should always check directly with the company they are claiming to be from - if the person is genuine they will not mind.

• Do not agree to anything on the spot or sign anything and do not feel pressured into having work carried out. It is worth discussing any work you feel needs carrying out on your property with a relative or a friend who can help find a reputable trader. 

Anyone who has any information about rogue tradesman or is worried that a relative or friend is being targeted is asked to should call Cheshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.