These scams tend to come along like rashes - all over the show for a while, then it goes quiet. Just like everything else, they have their trends, their fashions. And despite the authorities' best efforts (slow-turning wheels and so on), a new one pops up for every one closed.

Steve Kittendorf contacted me from his Stockton Post Office and Stores in Southam, Warwickshire, in response to yet another piece I had written on these cons.

His harassment started about six years ago when he was duped into sending a 'friendly guy' £220 for a drugs awareness book for a local school. "As you may have already guessed," he writes, "no such publication ever arrived at the school. Then, for the next three or four years, we had a call each year asking us for another £220 which they claimed we had pledged."

I like his tactics. "In the third year we gave them a short sharp reply and finished the phone call. The following year we delighted in dragging out the conversation for as long as we could before they finally gave up. We haven't heard from them for a year or two now."

But a new flavour has appeared on the shelves, as it were. "Now we have heard from a Mr Keith Ford, who claimed to be calling on behalf of the Warwickshire Community Police team. They were proposing to put seven additional officers on the beat to interact with the younger members of our society.

"They were looking to set up a youth club and organise activities and trips out to bowling alleys, cinemas and so on and asked if, as a responsible shopkeeper, would we like to contribute to the funding of such a scheme? When we replied 'No', they immediately put the phone down."

Steve then phoned the local police who confirmed that there was no Keith Ford within the community team.

It's breathtaking, isn't it? I have a suggestion or two. When you get such calls and you are unsure, ask for something in the post and tell them you will have to check with Trading Standards as you have, like so many, been duped in the past.