POLICE across Barnsley have today launched a borough-wide crackdown on rogue traders and pushy doorstep sellers amid residents complaints.

Police officers and trading standards are working together on the crackdown which focusses on the roads - mobile and static automatic number plate recognition technology is being used to identify offenders and drive them to stop-check sites. And the crackdown isn't just about rogue traders: distraction burglars, metal thieves and vehicle criminals are also being targeted.

Detective Chief Inspector Sean Middleton, leading the operation in South Yorkshire, said: “Door-to-door crime has a massive impact on the lives of local residents and the livelihoods of local businesses and legitimate traders. All too often, it’s elderly or vulnerable people who fall victim to doorstep crime and this can’t be allowed to happen.

“The action you can take is simple and could save a lot of financial and emotional difficulty – if you’re not sure, don’t open the door. You might be wise to this type of offending but we want to make sure that your parents, grandparents and other friends or relatives are wise too.”

Police say that rogue traders often offer gardening work or maintenance services at attractive rates but the quality of work is substandard, unnecessary or overpriced.They often use persuasive sales techniques to encourage people into making hasty decisions.

Trading Standards Institute’s chief executive Ron Gainsford said: “Tackling rogue traders is a big priority for trading standards; unscrupulous rogues and distraction burglars can have a devastating impact on peoples’ lives, and their activities are often linked to a vast network of crime.”

We've invited DCI Sean Middleton into the WAB Radio studio tomorrow - if you have any questions to ask him about this matter, submit them here and we will show him tomorrow.

People should report cases of rogue traders or uninvited doorstep callers to Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

Anyone with information that would lead to the arrest of any distraction burglar or rogue trader should ring their local police or call Crimestoppers, the national charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111. Always dial 999 in an emergency.