A CRACKDOWN on organised criminals who target pensioners in their own homes was launched today.

As part of a new nationwide initiative, police and council officials are targetting bogus callers.

The hardhitting message aims to nab doorstep callers who offer to do work only to take the money and not do the work.

Superintendent Alan Cunningham, Police Scotland's Head of Prevention urging anyone who suspects that bogus callers may be operating in their area to report them.

He was joined by Councillor Stephen Hagan, chairman Cosla Consumer Protection Partnership, for the launch at Cambuslang Old Parish Church in South Lanarkshire.

Mr Hagan said: "For far too long, rogue traders have been targeting vulnerable residents, ripping them off for thousands of pounds.

"This is totally illegal, completely immoral, and we must not allow this to continue any longer.

"Doorstep crime remains the top national priority in Scotland.

"It is carried out by cruel, unscrupulous and organised criminal groups who deliberately prey on the most vulnerable in society including the elderly."

Cosla has been working with Police Scotland, Trading Standards, housing associations, council officials and neighbourhood watch schemes to develop a national doorstep crime campaign.

However, officials say there are still significant problems with under reporting with this crime.

Reasons can range from embarrassment, to not knowing who to report to, to the victim not realising that they have been the subject of a crime.

rebecca.gray@ eveningtimes.co.uk