SCAMMERS and rogue traders would have cost residents of Halton more than £262,000 without the intervention of trading standards.

Halton’s trading standards department saved residents this huge sum last year through a combination of advice, alerts and technology.

Almost half that amount, £103,000, was saved by working with just 66 people, giving them one-on-one advice on how to avoid scams.

Many of those helped by trading standards had become repeat victims of scammers, and were often reluctant to report the scams because embarrassed that they had been taken in, councillors heard on Tuesday.

But the most significant intervention by the borough’s trading standards officers came in the form of their iCAN alerts, which inform residents about scams, doorstep crime and product recalls.

In total, trading standards estimates that almost 13,000 residents receive these warnings, saving them a combined total of £113,582.

Other ways trading standards saved residents money last year include providing call blocking tools that screen out scam and nuisance callers, responding to rogue traders calling at people’s houses and giving advice on consumer rights.

A trading standards officer told members of Halton’s Safer Performance and Policy Board: “Many of the consumers we deal with are facing severe challenges in their lives – such as illness, unemployment, bereavement – at the same time as being unable to resolve serious consumer issues which have often been unresolved for significant periods of time. 

“Such consumers can suffer considerable detriment where the goods or services involved are necessary to meet their everyday basic needs.”