LAST WEEK 30 vehicles were stopped in Salisbury in a bid to tackle doorstep criminals, who "con people out of their life savings for unnecessary and overpriced work".

On July 2 the joint operation between Wiltshire Police, Wiltshire Council’s Environmental Enforcement and Trading Standards Teams sought to stop rogue traders from committing illegal waste carriage.

These traders carry out works in properties in gardens, which are not actually needed or are overpriced, which can be followed by illegal transfer of waste or scrap metal and potential flytipping.

During the day of activity Wiltshire Police stopped vehicles across the county to assess their condition, and Wiltshire Council’s officers then conducted checks on the persons and business within the vehicle.

Of the 30 stopped in the Salisbury area, one vehicle was seized for no insurance (pictured), four drivers failed to produce waste transfer notes, no drivers were issued a fixed penalty notice for failure to produce a waste carriers licence, and three were given advice on trading standards.

Councillor Simon Jacobs, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public protection, said: “Doorstep criminals, often referred to as rogue traders, target the most vulnerable members of our community and con people out of their life savings for unnecessary and overpriced work.

"They can have a detrimental effect on the victim’s health and their confidence as a result. Intelligence sharing and joint working between trading standards and the police will continue.

"There is no way we will tolerate criminals engaged in doorstep crime operating in Wiltshire.”

Cllr Bridget Wayman, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for waste, added it is the duty of residents and businesses to ask traders for valid licenses and notes.

Householders and businesses can be fined £400 if their waste has been fly-tipped and reasonable checks have not been conducted on those who collected the waste.

Cllr Wayman added: "If all householders and businesses carry out these checks it will help reduce the amount of illegal waste deposited in Wiltshire.

"These enforcement operations look to disrupt illegal waste transportation and assist in reducing the number of flytipping incidents across the county”.

Wiltshire Police has issued the following advice to householders:

•'If in doubt, keep them out.'

•Never work with cold-callers and don't be rushed into home repairs.

•Consumers are legally entitled to a 14-day cooling off period in most home improvement contracts formed at their home.

•Check the identity of the caller by phoning the company they claim to be from.

•Ask a neighbour or friend to check the caller before you open the door to them or agree to have work done. Some areas in the country have 'nominated neighbour schemes' you can sign up to.

•Never pay cash up front.

•Always get at least three quotes before agreeing to have work done.

•Use the Trading Standards approved "Buy with Confidence" traders. These businesses are vetted and audited by Trading Standards Officers.

If anyone suspects a rogue trader is at their door, they should contact the police by dialling 101. In an emergency, call 999.

Rogue traders can also be reported to local trading standards by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.