POLICE and trading standards officers have teamed up in a bid to beat doorstep crime in Inverclyde.

A multi-agency campaign is taking place throughout October to warn residents across the district about bogus callers and rogue traders.

Sergeant Laura Stewart, from Greenock police station, and Veronica McGinley, the council's trading standards and enforcement team leader, met with shoppers in Morrisons to offer expert advice on how to stay safe and avoid being ripped off.

They spoke to almost 100 people in the space of a few hours to raise awareness of the month-long 'Beat Doorstep Crime' campaign, which ties in with the local authority's 'Trusted Trader' scheme advising people about reputable, local businesses and service providers.

Sergeant Stewart said: "This is a great place to do something like this and Morrisons have been very accommodating.

"We had a great response. "People wanted to stop and speak to us.

"At this time of year we find there's a bit of a spike in doorstep crime as it gets darker in the evenings and with people saying they need a bit of work done for the winter. "People shouldn't be fearful as it's not a big thing in Inverclyde, but they should be wary and we are making people aware of it."

The launch of the campaign comes after a sheriff last week locked up serial conman, Thomas Reid, 48, for four years for swindling almost £2,000 from OAPs in Port Glasgow and Gourock.

Police and trading standards say by following simple steps, such as using a door chain or spy hole before opening a doors and asking callers for identification, can prevent them from being left out of pocket.

As well as flyers and information booklets, shoppers in Morrisons were given 'no cold calling zone' warning stickers and pens.

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Inverclyde Council's convener of education and communities, said: "Doorstepping or cold calling customers is not something a genuine legitimate business gets involved in so the general rule should always be to decline and close the door or hang up the phone.

"It is precisely to avoid these types of fraud the Trusted Trader scheme was set up, to make sure people get a good job for the right price."

For more information about beating doorstep crime visit www.scotland.police.uk or call 101 and for further details about the council's Trusted Trader initiative, log on to www.inverclyde.gov.uk/business-and-trade/trusted-trader or phone 717171.