Crack down on cold callers

Amy Chapman of Devon Trading Standards, police crime prevention officer Donna Woolway and Fremington

Amy Chapman of Devon Trading Standards, police crime prevention officer Donna Woolway and Fremington Parish Council chairman Rodney Cann and Councillor Sue Kingdom urge people to say no to cold callers at the campaign launch. - Credit: Archant

The new Devon and Cornwall Doorstep Crime Reduction Partnership urges householders to say no to unwanted knocks at the door.

A new initiative to beat ‘doorstep crime’ and give cold callers the cold shoulder has been launched in North Devon.

Devon and Cornwall Police has joined forces with council Trading Standards services throughout the region to tackle doorstep criminals who often target the elderly or vulnerable.

The Devon launch for the scheme, which encourages households to display a ‘No Cold Caller’ sticker by their front door, was hosted by Fremington Parish Council at St Peter’s Church Hall on Thursday.

“It’s very, very important people check ID badges, because if it is not a pre-arranged visit they should not be letting people in their homes,” said Donna Woolway, police crime prevention officer.

“If people see the sticker on the door, they should not be calling at all. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if anything is at all suspicious, it is your home and you have the say over who comes through that door.”

Free information packs for residents, together with the campaign stickers, are being distributed to places such as libraries, GP surgeries and police stations across the region.

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The campaign is also highlighting the rising problem of ‘distraction burglary’, where householders are distracted by a caller while an accomplice enters the house, often by the back door. The burglars use common tricks such as asking to check the water, gas or electric.

When answering the front door, back doors should be locked and anyone unsure about a caller is advised to ask them to make an appointment to return, at a time when someone else will be present.

Steve Gardiner at Devon County Council Trading Standards Service, said doorstep crime was a high priority.

“We are all too aware of the lasting impact such crime can have on victims’ lives, often damaging their confidence and sense of security in their own homes,” he said.

“We also know that often become repeat targets of these unscrupulous gangs.”

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