VIDEO: South Yorkshire Police crackdown on con artists

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Rogue traders who prey on vulnerable South Yorkshire residents have been targeted by police in a new crackdown.

Officers have been stopping vehicles to check on workmen, in a bid to root out those suspected of conning residents by carrying out work to a low standard and then charging extortionate amounts.

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Police chiefs who oversaw the three-day operation, which ran from Monday until yesterday, stopped vehicles and stepped up patrols in areas where offences have been reported.

Inspectors from HM Revenue, Sheffield Council and the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency were also on hand, checking carrier licences and the condition of vehicles.

Keith Cousins, of HM Revenue, said: “We’ve been testing for rebated fuel, which is illegal in road vehicles. Fuel prices being what they are, it’s something we’re seeing more and more of.”

Mark Sherrod, of VOSA, said: “We’re looking for mechanical defects - defective tyres, broken lights, loose ball joints or oil leaks - and checking vehicles are in a safe and roadworthy condition.”

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Robinson, who oversaw the crackdown, said: “The operation was aimed at targeting rogue traders, bogus officials, pedlars and those claiming benefits while working.

“The legitimate traders we spoke to were pleased, because rogue traders take away their trade and give them a bad reputation.”

DCI Robinson said rogue traders prey on the vulnerable and elderly, and that residents need to be extra vigilant and report suspicious vehicles or people calling at homes unannounced.