18 October 2011

A scheme to fight rogue traders and distraction burglaries is coming to two villages in Northamptonshire.

The no cold-calling schemes are being set up in areas of Middleton and Cottingham both of which include areas where elderly or vulnerable residents have previously been targeted.

High visibility signs will be erected in the streets indicating that they are no cold-calling areas and crime prevention packs, including door advice stickers are being delivered to local residents. The key message to householders is “if you’re not sure, DON’T open the door”. The warning to callers is “Stay away. Cold-callers are NOT welcome”.

Residents in these areas are also being urged to call a special hotline to Northamptonshire Police -0345 23 07 702 to report any crime or suspicious callers at their homes and provide details of the callers to assist with their identification.

The no cold-calling schemes have been initiated and funded by Corby Community Safety Partnership which includes Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards service Corby Borough Council Northamptonshire Police and the Parish Council of Middleton and Cottingham. It aims to reduce the instances of doorstep selling and distraction burglaries in the area and provide a clear message to householders. Successful schemes are already operating in East Northamptonshire, Northampton, Kettering, South Northamptonshire and Daventry.

County council cabinet member for environment Councillor Ben Smith said:”Over the past six years we have been introducing this scheme to other parts of the county and have some extremely positive feedback from local residents.

“Members of the public should never feel pressured into making a decision or agreeing to buy anything on the doorstep. Our advice is always very clear, don’t open the door if you’re not sure. And if you do need a trader, I recommend you check our Buy with Confidence scheme to find businesses that have are trading standards approved.”

Inspector Gary Williams from the Northamptonshire Police Area, who has been involved in getting the schemes off the ground, said: “This initiative is an excellent example of the community working together with the police and other agencies, in response to local concerns about doorstep crime.
Both of these areas have been selected as no cold calling zones because there have been distraction burglaries in these locations in the past.

“Additionally the specific roads that have been chosen are mostly inhabited by elderly people who may be more vulnerable to bogus callers or rogue traders.

“The no cold calling scheme is an important support mechanism which we hope will give people more confidence to say ‘no’ to door-to-door callers. The simple message is if you are not expecting a caller and receive a knock at your door, DO NOT open the door.”

Leader of Corby Borough Council, Cllr Pat Fawcett. said: "These villages are safe places to live and we want to keep it that way and reduce the number of opportunities for bogus callers to prey on vulnerable members of the community. We believe that 'No Cold Calling Zones' like this will send out a clear signal to those people who operate like this that they are not welcome in this area.

"The cold calling system puts undue pressure on householders by having someone knocking at their door, often at dusk, trying to get them to buy something or have work done."

The signs will be in place from 18th October 2011 and the no cold-calling zones will operate from that date.