NEW tactics to rid the streets of rogue traders are working.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service have been trying out new techniques to protect people - especially vulnerable householders - from con artists.
Paul Smith, principal officer, said the need to tackle doorstep crime came to light several years ago. In one case, two conmen forced an elderly woman to withdraw thousands of pounds from her bank to pay them for shoddy work on her driveway.
He said: "We thought surely there must be something we can do.
"Everything we have done so far has been very effective.
"Unfortunately there are still traders preying on people, within the Kirklees area.
"With the help of the community, we hope to ensure that this is stopped."
One of the first actions taken by Trading Standards was the creation of a `rapid response' team.
If someone calls Trading Standards while a suspect trader is still at their property, this team will drop everything to go there and protect the householder from intimidation.
Mr Smith said: "We have done over 300 of those calls now and saved people about £200,000 that they would otherwise have parted with."
To crack down on rogue traders who travel into areas to hit vulnerable targets, Trading Standards have worked with the police to set up road stops.
Cars are stopped and people found to be traders have their credentials checked out.
During 2005/6, equipment and stolen property has been recovered on five of these road stops.
Mr Smith said: "There is a big problem with this.
"It is particularly bad in areas like Meltham, which are easy to access for some traders who we know come across from Lancashire."
Trading Standards have set up a system of sharing information with local councils and voluntary groups - so that bogus traders and their victims can be easily identified.
This information feeds into another new idea - an alert system.
Trading Standards has a list of people - such as councils and Homecare workers - who are warned about the movements of known rogue traders so that vulnerable people can be protected.
During 2005 and 2006, 62 alert warnings have been issued.
Around 950 Homecare employees have received Trading Standards training about doorstep crime.
Officers from West Yorkshire Police have also received training.
The care workers are vital for Trading Standards' to pass on information to vulnerable people and educate them about the dangers of doorstep crime.