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Cold callers to get the cold shoulder in new schemes to beat the con merchants

Door to door salesmen, conmen and dodgy builders will be given the cold shoulder in three areas of Lambeth from next week.

Lambeth Council and police are setting up three new “No Cold Calling Zones” as part of their commitment to protect vulnerable residents from con artists.

Door to door salespeople and other unsolicited visitors will be actively discouraged in the zones in Thurlow Park, Thornton, and St Leonard’s. Callers will be reported to Lambeth Trading Standards or the police.

At the same time, the council is promoting a new scheme that protects people from cowboy builders by listing reliable trades people, called Trustmark. The scheme, which is backed by Lambeth Council, allows people to search a list of approved builders and other trades people near to their home, safe in the knowledge that they are reliable and professional.

Robert Gardner, Lambeth Council Trading Standards manager, said:

“Rogue builders or gardeners often target elderly or vulnerable people in particular, and someone who may appear to be an innocent salesperson can actually be checking out a property so they can revisit later to carry out a burglary.

“The No Cold Calling zones will give people the confidence to say “no” to people who call at their door.

“They also send out a warning to the rip-off merchants that they are not welcome in the neighbourhood, and that they are being watched. Cold callers are a nuisance but at their worst they are criminals who deliberately target the vulnerable.”

The three neighbourhoods are in Thornton, St Leonard’s and Thurlow Park wards. The areas have been chosen after consultation with local residents which showed widespread support for the scheme, and because they are areas that have a high number of older residents.

One of the areas to benefit is the Weir Estate in Thornton Ward. Dave McEvoy, the Weir Estate Residents’ Association, Chair praised the scheme:

“We of course welcome the introduction of a No Cold Calling Zone in our area and will do all we can to encourage its success, in order that our residents, particularly the elderly and vulnerable, feel safe in their homes as well as keeping them safe from those who may have ulterior motives such as distraction crimes. This will also of course give all residents peace of mind from unwanted disturbance by cold callers to their home. We are delighted that the NCCZ will be implemented.

“We must ensure that those who are vulnerable are protected in every way and this will provide much needed reassurance.”

A residents’ information pack with additional information, contact details and stickers has been sent to every household in the zone. There will be regular patrols by Trading Standards officers in the area and traders found working in the area will be asked to show basic documents, such as company details and contact details.

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