An initiative which has successfully targeted hundreds of crooks and conmen across England should be extended to other parts of the UK, the government has been told.
The pilot scheme – which has seen specialist ‘Scambuster’ teams set up in south, central and north east England – has already cracked down on a number of fraudsters.
Numerous cases are currently going to court and the initiative has particularly targeted doorstep cold-callers who prey on the elderly.
The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) says that in one case a pensioner was plagued by roofers to such an extent that he would sit in his library all day to avoid them and later attempted suicide.
Another pensioner paid out £82,000 for a job that should have cost just £60.
But the scheme’s funding is due to run out next March and the TSI is urging the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to extend it across Britain.
TSI Chief Executive Ron Gainsford said: ‘Scambusters has done a remarkable job trailing crooks and gangs who might otherwise have slipped through the net.
‘We now hope the DTI will examine the impact of the Scambusters initiative and fund it sufficiently to allow it to be extended nationwide.’