Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Saying no to cold callers in Monmouthshire

More Monmouthshire residents are fighting doorstep crime thanks to 'cold calling control zones' set up in the county in the past two years.

Monmouthshire’s tenth cold calling control zone was established this week in Lansdown, Abergavenny.

This means that around 10% of all households in
Monmouthshire are a part of a cold calling control zone. Of around 37,000 households in the county, the council estimates more than 3,000 households are part of a zone.

The scheme is designed to reduce the risk of residents being targeted by bogus traders offering property repairs, charity collections, gardening work etc. Victims of these practices have either lost money or felt intimidated into having work carried out unnecessarily.

The zones show uninvited callers that they will not be welcome and zones are easily identified by signs attached to lamp posts and stickers in people’s windows.

Phil Glanville, Head of
Monmouthshire County Council’s Trading Standards department said:

"The scheme is really designed to give consumers the confidence to say 'no' to unwanted callers and to put them on their guard.

"Figures show that overall crime can drop by as much as 80%, with an even bigger impact on doorstep crime such as distraction theft'.

"We have heard from residents that they find the scheme extremely useful. In St. Arvans when a lamp post bearing our sign was replaced without a sign the locals rang to complain because they had started to get more uninvited callers.

"Every one of the people who responded to a survey in Bulwark carried out four months after the commencement of the scheme said that the scheme and the information provided made them feel safer in their home."

Angela Hoyle is the Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator for Redbrook Road in
Monmouthshire, part of the Wyesham’s cold calling control zone. She said:

"The introduction of the zone is a way forward in combating unwanted visitors. It’s amazing that as the nights draw in there is an increase in door-to-door visitors using hard-selling techniques.

"My worst encounter was last year when a man called but would not accept the fact that I was not interested in what he had to sell. I eventually asked him to leave. The following week he returned and found me working in the garden. I am young enough to deal with such people but elderly people are often unnerved by such encounters and it’s time this practice was stopped."

Councillor Eric Saxon,
Monmouthshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, attended the launch of a 'cold calling control zone' in Wyesham in October.

He said:

"Both my mother and a resident in my ward have been targeted by bogus callers and I’ve seen the terrible effects of being victimised by these cruel criminals.

"We can’t underestimate how much crime and upset we prevent with these zones and I’m glad that people have the power to say no to callers."


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