A MAJOR crackdown against rogue traders has been launched after more than 60 older people in Colchester and Clacton are reported to have been conned by predatory salesmen.

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Essex Police and Trading Standards have joined forces to identify and prosecute those who have taken money for poor quality work on building, roofing and gardening.

They are now urging older residents across north-east Essex to “close the door” on cold-calling rogue traders during the festive period.

It comes after more that 60 residents in north Essex were targeted by crooks in recent months, according to police.

Tendring’s district commander, Chief Inspector Cat Barrie, said: “These residents live a quiet life and trust everyone, sadly making them vulnerable,” said Chief Inspector Barrie.

“We have been visiting local residents to highlight what has been happening and offering advice on how to spot a rogue salesman.

“Such salesmen often target vulnerable members of the community offering household property services. Using any method to obtain money, they will often only do the job to a poor standard or not undertake the work at all.”

As well as urging elderly homeowners to heed the advice, officers are asking relatives, friends and neighbours to visit their grandparents and check on their welfare.

“We would like to think grandchildren visit their relatives on a regular basis all-year-round, but the run-up to Christmas gives them the perfect excuse to begin,” he added.

Essex County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, Kevin Bentley said: “If anyone has a concern about a trader, they should contact us as we can provide advice, run checks to see if a builder is a member of the relevant body and contact the trader directly.”

For more information and advice, call Essex County Council Trading Standards on 08454 040506 or to find a trading standards-approved workman visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk

Anyone with information in connection with a rogue trader or has been visited by one should contact Essex Police on 101 or 999.

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