"Scared and pressured" is how one man said he felt after paying thousands of pounds to rogue traders who knocked on his door, and told him he needed unnecessary repair work to his home.
Over the last two years in Oxfordshire alone, unsuspecting victims shelled out more than three quarters of a million pounds to dodgy workmen.
Targeting the elderly and disabled, the criminals pretend to be repairing roofs or tending gardens - intimidating their victims into handing over money. for shoddy or non-existent work.
But now Police and Trading Standards are fighting back, with a scheme designed to create 'nominated neighbours' who can act as shields against the conmen. Cary Johnston reports:
An ambulance service says it has recently received 999 calls from people asking for the number of Directory Enquiries and to report a dead cat.
The South Western Ambulance Service, which covers Wiltshire and Dorset, says it is currently getting around 2,500 999 calls a day in the run-up to Christmas.
It has launched a winter campaign to encourage people to question whether they really need to call 999.
It has released a recording of one call, in which a woman rang to report a dead cat in the road:
James Wright has the lunchtime weather forecast for the west of the ITV Meridian region.Read the full story ›
A dog at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is set for a lonely New Year, after being rejected by potential owners almost 5,000 times.Read the full story ›
A woman who was the victim of sexual violence at the hands of her own partner has spoken exclusively to ITV Meridian about her ordeal.Read the full story ›
Hundreds of thousands of over-65s in the UK are worried about being alone this Christmas.Read the full story ›
Monday's weather in the west with PhilippaRead the full story ›
Philippa has the outlook for the westRead the full story ›
Gospel singers from the region have created a new world record by staging the highest ever carol concert thousands of feet in the air. It was on a plane from Gatwick to Geneva and was rsising money for the charity Unicef. Mike Pearse watched the fun.
Elton John has posted a photograph of him and David Furnish during the couple's marriage service in Windsor.
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