Cold callers banned from streets in Cornish village

Residents of the village of Carnon Downs have voted overwhelmingly to ban cold callers from their front doors in an effort to protect themselves from rogue tradesmen and other doorstep fraudsters.

Supported by Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards team and Devon and Cornwall Police, two streets in the village will become Cornwall’s first “No Cold Calling Zone” on Tuesday 26 November 2019 when new street signs are unveiled and enforcement patrols commence.

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The two streets taking part in the initiative are Mount Agar Road and Agar Meadows.

Paul Masters, Cornwall Council’s Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods, said: “Over the last year the Council’s Trading Standards team has responded to more than 150 reports of doorstep fraud – bogus gardeners, rogue roofers, dodgy driveway firms and other home improvement scammers all of whom are well-practised in the art of persuading homeowners into handing over lots of money for over-priced, poor quality, unnecessary or falsely described work.

“In all of these cases the fraudster called at the door without being invited and national surveys have found in the past that as many as 96% of us do not want to be disturbed by cold callers at all, no matter what their motive.

“In other parts of the UK, No Cold Calling Zones have proved very successful in providing local residents or communities with the confidence to say “NO” to uninvited salespeople or to warn rogue traders and cold-callers that they are being watched. As a result, they have been linked to reports of significant crime reduction and a greater feeling of security amongst residents.”

Leanne McLean, Trading Standards Lead Officer for Doorstep Fraud, said: “We have attended two attempted doorstep fraud incidents in Carnon Downs in recent months and the criminals have obviously identified the village as a worthwhile target area.

“By adopting a No Cold Calling Zone the local residents will be more alert to the tactics used by fraudsters and will be able to turn them away more easily. It will remind them not to deal with anyone who knocks at the door without being invited. The new signs will also remind all tradesmen who knock at the door that they commit a criminal offence if they do not leave when asked to do so by the homeowner.  

“This scheme will not affect any genuine businesses as they don’t need to cold call but it will hopefully prevent anyone else in Carnon Downs from handing over money to a bogus firm who is here today and gone tomorrow.”

PCSO Emil Gabriele from Devon & Cornwall Police, who helped to establish this first No Cold Calling Zone in Cornwall, said:  “Having been attached to the Council’s Trading Standards team for the last 12 months I have seen first-hand the damage that rogue traders can do and how their actions affect the health and wellbeing of the homeowners who fall victim to these crimes.

“These criminals prey on the vulnerable with no regard to the effect their actions have. It is hoped that by setting up this No Cold Calling Zone the partnership between local residents, Cornwall Council Trading Standards and Devon & Cornwall Police can help to eliminate this type of criminality from our communities.

“This Zone sends out a clear message that residents will not deal with doorstep traders.”