North Yorkshire Police and Trading Standards officers in Tadcaster have established a No Cold Calling Zone to protect residents from unwanted callers.
From May 15, Stutton Road became a no-go area for doorstep callers following repeated incidents in the area including reports of bogus council officials and police officers.
In one incident last year, callers claiming to be carrying out damp proofing work for the council, conned one resident out of several hundred pounds.
A few weeks later, a man pretending to be a police officer conned his way into the home of an older couple, claiming he was investigating an earlier incident. The couple later found that money had been stolen while they were distracted by the bogus officer.
Residents have also reported numerous calls from duster sellers, mattress sellers and people offering to do gardening work.
No Cold Calling Zones are designed to discourage cold callers and reduce incidents of rogue traders and distraction burglaries by empowering residents to send callers away and inform the police or Trading Standards.
Signs marking the zone have been put up in the area to warn would-be callers that they could be committing an offence if they cold call on residents.
Inspector Martin Wedgwood of Selby District Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The actions of bogus callers, rogue traders and distraction burglars can have a serious, long-lasting impact on their victims, affecting their confidence and in some cases, their physical and mental health.
“So we welcome the move by Trading Standards which will give residents the confidence to stand up to these often very plausible and friendly callers who have just one aim – and that is to get money out of their victims.
“Whether that’s for shoddy, overpriced, substandard work, or by stealing it. My thanks go to our colleagues at Trading Standards for their work to establish this new zone.”
North Yorkshire County Councillor Andrew Lee, Executive Member for Trading Standards, added: “We remain absolutely committed to targeting doorstep criminals in this county who prey on our most vulnerable residents.
“The Operation Gauntlet team continues to take a zero tolerance approach to such offending and to disrupting the activities of those who choose to behave in this way.
“No Cold Call Zones are one of the initiatives we use to help to protect residents and allow people to live safely and independently without fear of crime.”
North Yorkshire Police offered the following advice on what to do if you are targeted by cold callers:
• Don’t engage with or deal with doorstep callers
• If you are told or believe that your homes requires work such as roofing or other maintenance, obtain three quotes from local traders. Word of mouth recommendations from someone you trust who has had a good experience with the trader are always best
• If you receive a cold call, report it to trading standards on 03454 040506, or to the police on 101. If you feel threatened by a cold caller, always call 999
• If you find yourselves in a situation where you have contracted for goods or services with a doorstep caller, the trader is required to provide you with a cancellation notice giving you 14 days to cancel the contract. If they fail to do so, it is a criminal offence
• Paying by credit card for goods or services costing over £100 gives you extra protection as the credit card provider is equally liable for any breaches of contract or offences committed by the suspect. They are liable to refund monies paid
• Trading standards and the police are always keen to receive intelligence about doorstep callers in the county. If you are able to provide trading names, copies of flyers or business cards, or vehicle details, these could provide extremely useful information for investigators
• Pass these messages on to your elderly relatives and friends and reassure them they are not being rude by refusing to engage and sending them away. It’s best not to answer the door in the first place if you are not sure who is calling.