Police across the ABC borough have been working alongside the Policing and Community Safety Partnership to help householders show doorstep criminals the door through a new scheme to keep ‘rogue traders’ at bay.
Using the new ‘No Cold Calling Zone…no uninvited traders’ window stickers, developed in association with Trading Standards, cold callers can now be warned away and a contact number provided to report those who ignore the sticker’s warning to Trading Standards.
The stickers have been distributed throughout Northern Ireland in recent months and a pilot No Cold Calling Zone, with lamp-post signage has been launched in Bramblewood Grove in Banbridge to provide extra awareness.
While it should be noted that not all cold callers are rogue traders, the project has been developed by police to put a stop to those unofficial traders who may over-charge an unsuspecting and often elderly householder for poor quality work or work that is never completed at all.
The stickers give a householder the opportunity to warn cold callers that they are not wanted at their door, that ignoring that warning could constitute a breach of ‘Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading’ regulations and that further action may be taken by Trading Standards.
The project is not designed to apply to established callers such as a milk delivery or window-cleaners.
Helping to launch the ‘No Cold Calling’ zone in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, was PCSP Chair Councillor Julie Flaherty.
She said: “No Cold Calling Zones are designed to discourage rogue traders who may be trying to sell shoddy or over-priced goods, or who try to trick their way into the house to commit a burglary. They also help to tackle fear of crime by making people feel more secure in their own homes, and give them the confidence to tell unwanted callers to leave.”
Chief Inspector Jon Burrows said: ” It is part of Operation Nourat, which is a partnership campaign with PCSP, Trading Standards and PSNI, and will include officers conducting operations targeting Rogue Traders with a variety of legislative tools and engaging in range of prevention activities across Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon.
“Most callers at your door will be genuine but someone could be trying to gain access to look around your property or charge you far too much for shoddy or non-existent work.
“Police already provide our free Quick Check service (0800 013 12 90) to check if people like meter readers are genuine, and now the community will have the power to warn rogue traders like scam ‘handymen’ that they are aware of rogue trading, that they won’t be duped and will take action through Trading Standards if someone tries.
“The best place for a would-be scam artist is well away from your door, which is why we are providing these schemes to help people show doorstep criminals the door,” he said.
No Cold Calling Zone stickers are available on request from your local Crime Prevention Officer by calling 101 or from the Policing and Community Safety Partnership by calling 0300 0300 900.
For further information log onto www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni.