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Townsend residents say 'no' to bogus callers

Three roads in Townsend have been designated as No Cold Calling Zones in an attempt to protect the roads’ residents against bogus callers.

Residents of Hastings Road, Ibbertson Road and Barrow Drive, all in Townsend, have been issued with No Cold Calling Zone packs, advising them what to do if someone calls at their house uninvited.

It was decided by the Townsend Safer Neighbourhood Team and Trading Standards that the three roads should become No Cold Calling Zones after a number of residents raised concerns about cold-callers last winter. The zones were set up in consultation with the roads’ residents.

PC Nickki Hughes, of the Townsend Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “While the majority of cold callers are from reputable companies, it is not always easy to identify the callers who have ulterior motives.

“Some criminals have been known to pose as legitimate business men and women in order to steal money or valuables, either by taking money in advance for work that they do not complete or by distracting the resident at the front door while an accomplice enters the property through a rear door or window.

“By advising residents on what action to take if they encounter an unwanted caller, we hope to protect residents from these types of crimes.”

The packs advise residents in the zones to close the door on any uninvited callers and phone trading standards straight away.

However, all residents, whether living in a No Cold Calling Zone or not, are advised to make sure that all windows and rear doors are locked before opening the front door to an uninvited caller, and to use a bar or chain on the door if there is one.

Residents are also advised to ask the caller for identification and verify their identity by phoning the company they claim to work for, using a number found in a phone book or on a recent bill, as the number given on the card may be false.

If in doubt, residents can call Bournemouth Trading Standards on 08454 04 05 06 or Dorset Police on 01202 222222 (non-emergencies only – dial 999 if a crime is in progress or life is in danger).

Andy Sherriff, Trading Standards Manager, said: “Many people feel uncomfortable when facing cold callers and they can be pressurised into making a hasty decision they later regret. Legitimate traders understand and will not call unless by prior invitation. The ‘no cold calling zone’ gives residents the confidence to say ‘no’ to uninvited tradesmen and to support their friends and neighbours. It gives a clear message to rogue traders that they are not welcome in the area.”

No Cold Calling Zones were launched in parts of Talbot, Strouden Park and Wallisdown in November last year.

No Cold Calling Zone signs have been put up in the roads and all of the roads’ residents have been given a door sticker to deter uninvited callers.