Danger on doorstep

PUBLISHED: 10:44 09 November 2006 | UPDATED: 14:52 12 May 2010

Be wary of callers at your door – Specially posed picture

Be wary of callers at your door - Specially posed picture

Councillors are pushing for a cold calling scheme to be introduced in Royston in the wake of an incident involving an 82-year-old woman. The pensioner answered the door to two men who said they were from social services. One man sat talking to her in her

Councillors are pushing for a cold calling scheme to be introduced in Royston in the wake of an incident involving an 82-year-old woman.

The pensioner answered the door to two men who said they were from social services.

One man sat talking to her in her sitting room while the other man looked around her house.

The woman's niece who is from Bassingbourn said: "My aunt knew a physiotherapist was due to visit her, and she let the men in.

"But then she couldn't get them out. They were there for about two hours.

"One man was in and out of the sitting room, looking around the house.

"We are quite sure nothing has been taken, but her house is in a muddle so we wouldn't know if things had been disturbed."

She wants to warn other vulnerable people, because she is concerned the men may try again.

"I would never forgive myself if something happened to someone else," she said.

"Had they been legitimate they would have left a card but clearly they were opportunists looking for a way in.

"If anyone is approached like this, do not let them in, put a chain on the door, and call the police."

Councillor Chris Barton, chairman of the highways and general purposes committee is keen for a cold calling zone.

He said: "We have evidence of existing cold calling zones, and we found the incidents of opportunist crime are falling.

"We are also working in conjunction with North Herts District Council and petitioning residents in Mill Road, Royston, to see what they think of the scheme and so far the results of the petition have been positive."

"While cold calling zones may not completely ban opportunist crime they should give residents the confidence to tell cold callers to go away.

"However, the common criminal is not stupid and I'm sure they will move on to other areas where cold calling is permitted. I would like to see it working across the town."

A Herts County Council spokesman said: "When people come cold calling, ask for ID, and if you still have concerns, don't let them in and ring the police.

"We have a number of cold calling free zones in Herts to deter people from cold calling. This has worked and official feedback shows fewer people knocked on doors.

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