Shopkeepers in Pewsey want to know why no action has been taken to stop a “rogue trader” who they claim has taken hundreds of pounds from them under false pretences.

The Pewsey traders called the Gazette after reading a story about firms in Devizes who had paid for advertising in a business directory that had not appeared.

They claim they had been taken in by the same man, Nigel Hallet, months before he targeted a shop in Devizes.

Anthony Mulcock from Three Castles Brewery, Pewsey said: “It seems wrong that nobody is doing anything to stop this man. It is annoying about the money but I am more angry that the police don’t seem to want to know.”

Traders including Mr Mulcock and Marion Pearce, who runs florist China Rose, have contacted the police investigation unit Action Fraud but they say nothing has been done.

Mrs Pearce said: “When we saw this report we decided it was time we spoke out. I paid him £160 in January 2013 and nothing appeared in any publication.

“I understand some Devizes people got some sort of booklet but we got nothing. We were all taken in by him. He was very convincing.”

Butcher Nigel Lihou said: “He wanted £300 for an advertisement but I got him down to £80 which I thought was quite good. But nothing appeared. When I chased him up about it he gave me a sob story saying his marriage had broken up so I gave him the benefit of the doubt.

“Now it seems he had no intention of ever publishing anything and deliberately took our money. When I realised he had been to traders in Devizes after us it made me angry.”

Barry Hussey, of the Royal Oak in Pewsey, said: “I am usually cautious about this sort of advertising but other people said they were going in the publication and I decided to do it as well.

“It seems wrong there is no comeback from the police and it is just allowed to carry on.”

Sue Faux, who runs Faux Arts, gave him £160. She said: “That was my advertising budget for the whole year so I wasn’t able to advertise anywhere else.”

A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said officers investigated the Devizes claims but as a publication of some description had come out there was not enough evidence for a fraud prosecution. They said there was no record of any complaints from Pewsey.

A spokesman for Action Fraud said it did not investigate complaints but passed them on to relevant police forces.

Wiltshire Council said it is carrying out enquiries.

Mr Hallet has not been contactable but is believed to be in the Poole area.