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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 00:03 GMT
7.5m bid to target rogue traders
Bogus caller - actors
People lose billions of pounds every year to the scams of rogue traders
The government has announced plans to spend 7.5m over three years across Britain fighting rogue traders who prey on vulnerable householders.

Specialist Trading Standards officers will work with police across local authority borders, following a successful 18-month pilot.

As council officials normally work within their borders, fraudsters often move from area to area undetected.

Trading Standards say the pilots have saved consumers 3m over the past year.

Ripped off

Business Secretary John Hutton said: "Cold-calling fraudsters who prey on the elderly and vulnerable bring fear to our communities. We are determined to shut them down and bring them to justice.

An intelligence-led approach to tackling the worst offenders of these scams really works
Ron Gainsford
Trading Standards Institute

"These illegal scams cost people in the UK billions of pounds each year. Consumers deserve a fair deal, not to be ripped off or conned by the bogus sellers that give legitimate business a bad name."

The pilot schemes have already uncovered about 16m worth of fraud, and seized 2m of criminal assets and almost 14,000 illicit cigarettes.

In addition, 44 e-mail addresses and 24 phone numbers linked to national mailing scams, and 165 websites of suspected rogue traders have been shut down.

Ron Gainsford, chief executive of the Trading Standards Institute, said: "The pilot teams have shown how an intelligence-led approach to tackling the worst offenders of these scams really works.

"Many scams work across traditional authority boundaries and previously the scams would simply target a different part of the country and continue their scam until being caught. This cross-border approach is helping to tackle this problem."

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