A COUNTY-wide crackdown on rogue traders who prey on vulnerable people was carried on Friday (June 15) after two elderly residents parted with nearly £60,000.   Code-named Operation Rogue Trader, the initiative involved teams of Cambridgeshire police offi

A COUNTY-wide crackdown on rogue traders who prey on vulnerable people was carried on Friday (June 15) after two elderly residents parted with nearly £60,000.

Code-named Operation Rogue Trader, the initiative involved teams of Cambridgeshire police officers working alongside staff from Trading Standards, local authorities and HM Revenue and Customs.

A total of more than 60 officers took part in the operation which was part of a national day of action.

Areas covered by the operation included Huntingdon, St Neots, St Ives, Peterborough, Eye, Cambridge, Sawston, Ely and Wisbech.

Intelligence indicates that conmen who carry out building maintenance and resurfacing work are also responsible for offences including burglary, deception, theft, criminal damage and harassment. They often charge large amounts of money for substandard, or no work and steal from customers.

Inspector Billy Bremner said: "Rogue trading and the crime associated with it is a priority for the force and this operation was part of an ongoing campaign to tackle it.

"These traders ply their despicable trade across the county, and the country as a whole, throughout the year and it is important residents are aware of how they operate.

"We hope this action sends out a clear warning to those who commit crimes against elderly and vulnerable victims."

According to Trading Standards, there were 11 reported rogue trader incidents in the county last month, three in April, as well as three attempted offences, but none in March.

In separate incidents this year, two elderly residents parted with nearly £60,000 in total.

Cathy Inman, from Cambridgeshire Trading Standards, said: "The victims of this sort of crime are often elderly and in many cases they are charged extortionate amounts of money for very poor quality work.

The results are due out on Monday.