POLICE in Lisburn and Castlereagh 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 ‘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 No Cold Calling Zone, with lamp-post signage has been launched in the Benson Street Lisburn and Glenholm Park Castlereagh areas 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 first ‘No Cold Calling’ zone in the Lisburn & Castlereagh area, Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) Cllr Andrew Ewing said:
“I fully support the roll out of no cold calling zones across the council area.
“The community have a major role to play in safe guarding themselves and their neighbours. By working together with the PCSP, PSNI and Trading Standards the implementation of no cold calling zones can assist in reducing crime and the fear of crime.”
PSNI Supt David Beck 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.
“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.
“The best place for a would-be scammers is well away from your door, which is why we are providing these schemes to help people show doorstep criminals the door.”
Trading Standards Inspector Kevin McNamara said, “Always be very wary of traders who call at your door unannounced offering to carry out home repairs or maintenance work, such as power washing driveways.
“Be especially on your guard if they tell you the repairs are urgent.
“And never hand over large amounts of money upfront for any work or go with a trader to the bank to take money out.
“No Cold Calling Zones should help ensure that rogue traders are deterred.
“If you need to get work done to your home it is better to take your time to seek out reputable traders.
No Cold Calling Zone stickers are available on request from your local Crime Prevention Officer by calling 101, PCSP on Tel 028 9250 9279 or the Consumer line on Tel 0300 123 6262
For further information log onto www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni.