POLICE have launched a major crackdown on bogus workers after almost 20 older people across East Renfrewshire were conned out of cash.

In a four-hour operation last week, almost 400 cars and vans were stopped by officers who checked on the occupants and searched the vehicles if there was anything suspicions.

The clampdown was backed by motorcycle teams, trading standards experts and taxi enforcement officers.

Inspector Michelle Grant said the aim is to deter bogus workers and cold callers from operating across East Renfrewshire.

At least 17 older people in the council area have fallen victim to such scams in the last 12 months.

In some cases, con artists take thousands of pounds as upfront payments for home improvements but do not return to carry out the work.

One recent victim was an 87-year-old woman who had a three-figure sum of cash stolen from her purse after being duped by two bogus roofers.

Inspector Grant said: “Our main aim is to give reassurance to people that the police are active in this area against this sort of crime and crime in general.

“With the easing of restrictions, a lot of people are having things done to their house and criminals are taking advantage of that.”

Police say that, over the last year, bogus workers operating in East Renfrewshire have cost their victims almost £250,000 in shoddy or unfinished work, as well as stolen property.

Last week’s operation took place outside Rouken Glen Park, in Giffnock, with officers also placed in other parts of East Renfrewshire to stop speeders as part of the same purge.

One driver was caught with no insurance, one had no MOT and five were pulled up for vehicle defects. Officers also issued 12 warnings about speeding.

A further crackdown is planned in Barrhead and Neilston in the coming weeks.

Inspector Grant said: “We are urging people getting work done to check that they are using reputable traders.

“Do not hand over money unless some agreement has been reached.

“People are handing over thousands, for example, to have their bathroom done. The bogus workers are ripping out the old one but not coming back to fit a new one.

“Doorstep and bogus crime is principally committed against the elderly and vulnerable in their own homes. The impact of this has devastating effects on victims and communities.”

Anyone who has been the victim of bogus workers is asked to call officers on 101.