TRADING Standards have launched a crackdown on the number of cold callers with a fresh bid to identify persistent offenders.

Beginning next Monday, North Yorkshire Trading Standards are urging members of the public to hand in leaflets that have been delivered to their homes by people who may be operating illegally.

It is hoped the crackdown on 'rogue' doorstep sellers, who have pressured residents into buying goods or services they did not want or need, will help Trading Standards identify those breaking the law.

Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive Member for North Yorkshire Trading Standards, said the authority's collection of leaflets would assist officers in the tackling of rogue traders across the county.

He said: “Trading standards officers rely on information provided by members of the public, especially in relation to cold callers, and that’s why we’re encouraging residents to take part.

"The information that officers collect will help them to tackle rogue trading, and in particular to protect our more vulnerable residents, who can be targeted by unscrupulous cold callers.

“We are interested in leaflets offering services, especially home maintenance and gardening."

Ahead of its launch, scores of collection boxes are being installed across the region at North Yorkshire County Council-owned libraries and offices, while ASDA, Sainsbury's and Morrison's supermarkets' have opted in to include collection boxes at some of their stores.

Cllr Lee said leaflets that residents had received before the launch date on Monday, October 14, would still be accepted as evidence.

He added: "We’d be grateful if you could make a note of your postcode on each leaflet, so we can identify the areas in which they have been delivered.

“We are not asking for flyers for local businesses, such as takeaways, supermarkets and corner shops, or catalogues for well-known beauty or home products – if in doubt, please drop off the leaflet.”

To report a cold caller or seek advice about goods or services bought on the doorstep, residents are urged to call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454-040506.

To find out your closest collection box contact North Yorkshire County Council on 01609-779838.