A CRACKDOWN has been staged on doorstep callers.

Trading Standards officers – with partner organisations – have been taking part in a week of activities in South Craven and across North Yorkshire.

The team raised awareness of the risks posed by dealing with unknown doorstep callers.

And officers encouraged residents to report any incidents.

North Yorkshire Trading Standards receives hundreds of complaints every year about doorstep callers.

Concerns include shoddy or unnecessary work, false claims and gross overcharging.

In some instances, victims – often vulnerable and elderly residents – are targeted repeatedly over weeks or months and can even be driven to the bank by offenders to withdraw cash.

Some people end-up being defrauded out of tens of thousands of pounds.

As part of this week’s initiative, officers from the Trading Standards-based multi-agency safeguarding team – Operation Gauntlet – gave information and advice to residents and community groups.

They also ­– in conjunction with the police – carried out enforcement activities.

Over the past 12 months, Operation Gauntlet has successfully brought prosecutions against 18 offenders for fraud and money laundering offences, resulting in prison sentences totalling more than 53 years.

County Councillor Andrew Lee, North Yorkshire council’s executive member for Trading Standards, said: “Our Trading Standards team is committed to working with partners to rid the county of the scourge of doorstep crime.

“We know offenders target the most vulnerable. And we also know that reporting rates for such crimes are too low – we only receive reports from five to ten per cent of the victims of these crimes.

“We rely on members of the public who come into contact with these offenders to tell us and help us to protect vulnerable residents who may be more susceptible to the crimes.

“Our officers are ready to respond and have an excellent track record of bringing offenders to justice and returning money recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act to victims.

“The advice is never to deal with cold callers. If you think you need property repairs, contact three, local, reputable businesses for quotes. Take time to decide whether to go ahead and who to employ.”

For more advice, call 03454 04 05 06.