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Bid to outlaw cold call traders

PUBLISHED: 15:40 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:50 13 July 2010

Unwanted door-to-door traders are being sent packing by pensioners after the first “no cold calling” zones were launched in North Norfolk.

Three streets in a village near Sheringham are leading the way, but other communities across the district, where there are concerns and a history of caller problems, can join the scheme run by trading standards officials.

Unwanted door-to-door traders are being sent packing by pensioners after the first “no cold calling” zones were launched in North Norfolk.

Three streets in a village near Sheringham are leading the way, but other communities across the district, where there are concerns and a history of caller problems, can join the scheme run by trading standards officials.

The project is aimed at banning unwanted salesmen - giving older people living alone the assurance that they will not be intimidated by high pressure salesmen on their doorstep.

Signs have been put up and information packs given out to homes on Robyns Road, Abbey Park and Regis Avenue in Beeston Regis, warning off unannounced visitors.

Each of the residents on the road have been given a pack which includes stickers for their front doors and advice about what to do if they get a cold call.

The zones are set up if the majority of residents want one, and Robyn's Road resident Margaret Roffe was behind the one in her cul-de-sac.

She was spurred into action after one of her neighbours was “conned” into changing his electricity account by a door-to-door utility salesman. His family had to intervene to get it all sorted out.

“It was a nasty experience for him. The 'no cold call zones' will make people feel a lot more secure.” she said.

She rallied almost 100pc support from her neighbours, and backing from the parish council, to add her road to the other 20 zones around Norfolk, in a scheme being run by the county trading standards department.

Although there is no law against cold calling, the signs make it clear that unannounced visitors are unwanted.

In packs distributed to home owners a number is given to report breaches of the zones. They are checked and reported to Consumer Direct, a partner of trading standards who advise on consumer problems.

Trading standards officer Alva Nursey said: “It is about giving people confidence and letting people know who to contact.”

She said that there had to be a history of people having problems with rogue traders before they would deem roads “no cold call” areas.

Local resident Margaret Miles, 70, said: “I think it is very good idea. There are a lot of old people that get very confused and people get caught out.”

Parish council chairman Roy Beckley said: “It is a wonderful initiative, particularly in areas such as Beeston Regis where there is an older population. It is important to respect people's privacy. We are expecting other roads to want to introduce the scheme.”

*Anyone interested in making their road a “no cold calling zone” should contact Norfolk trading standards on 0844 800 8005.

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