Cold comfort for nuisance callers

PUBLISHED: 12:39 10 August 2006 | UPDATED: 14:47 12 May 2010

Cllr Chris Barton

Cllr Chris Barton

A STUDY is to be undertaken into the setting up of a cold-calling free zone in Royston. The idea is that such a zone would add protection to elderly and vulnerable residents who can become the victims of distraction burglary and con artists. Members of

A STUDY is to be undertaken into the setting up of a cold-calling free zone in Royston.

The idea is that such a zone would add protection to elderly and vulnerable residents who can become the victims of distraction burglary and "con" artists.

Members of Royston Town Council's finance and general purposes committee decided on Monday evening to look into the methods of introducing such a scheme.

They hope to talk to police and the North Herts community safety team about the project.

Committee chairman Cllr Chris Barton said: "It will be a way of giving vulnerable residents some sort of support.

"It will make residents aware that calls should not be made on their property," he said.

Cllr Barton admitted, however, that details of an exact scheme were still "sketchy" although such zones were "working in other places".

But he suggested that one area that seemed ripe for the project would be Mill Road, where he said elderly residents had become the victims of cold-calling.

Cllr Mike Harrison said that cold-calling was often carried out by people who could be simply be described as "unscrupulous".

And Cllr Rod Kennedy said instead of a particular area, covering the whole of Royston would be more appropriate.

Town clerk Celia Walpole, however, added that cold-calling free zones were designed to cover an area of between 20-40 homes.

Members decided that there would have to be consultation about the scheme and the need to identify an area where such a zone could be introduced.

Zones have been set up in Bedfordshire, where there have been 16 arrests.

It has been estimated that rogue callers have been prevented from taking a total of £50,000 cash from residents.

A spokesman for Bedfordshire County Council said: "The number of serious incidents in our no cold calling zones has dropped dramatically."

- The zones are not enforceable by law, but operate by advising callers that door-step trading is unwelcome, and by making people more aware of their rights when dealing with unwanted sales calls.

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