No To 'Cold Callers' On Southfields Grid

Rogue traders and doorstep conmen warned to steer clear

Rogue traders and doorstep conmen are being warned to steer clear of a neighbourhood in Southfields that is the latest in the borough to be designated a "no cold calling zone".

Residents in the streets that form the Southfields Grid will benefit from new safeguards protecting them and their homes from unscrupulous traders, conmen, distraction burglars and high-pressure sales teams.

The zone, which was set up following requests from local people, aims to deter uninvited traders and others from calling at their homes without an appointment.

It has been marked out using street signs that warn would-be offenders that their activities will not be tolerated.

Every household has been issued with an information pack offering tips on how to respond to an unexpected caller plus window stickers, useful leaflets and contact telephone numbers for their local safer neighbourhoods team as well as the council's trading standards team, housing department and community safety division.

Residents will be urged to immediately report any suspicious callers to the police or council.

The area was chosen as it contains a higher than average number of older residents who are often targeted by rogue traders and doorstep conmen.

The council's head of community safety Stewart Low said: "We know that confidence tricksters and cowboy workmen prey on older people and that is why we have set up this special zone in this part of Southfields.

"We are working together with the police to ensure that residents in this part of the borough, and also in other zones where no cold calling zones have been set up, are much more aware of the dangers of dealing with strangers on the doorstep.

"We want to send out the message that everyone in this zone will be on the look-out for unwanted callers and that the police, trading standards investigators and housing officers will be out in force if anyone does come knocking at doors.

"There is some worrying evidence that suggests a link between rogue sellers and distraction burglars. In some cases the seemingly innocent doorstep seller has turned out to be casing the joint and checking out the homeowner so they know who is worth targeting in a burglary.

"Even if they are not burglars many of these unexpected callers are cowboy traders who fleece people for extortionate amounts of money for work that is either shoddy or unnecessary.

"Whether it's conmen, dodgy builders, thieves or burglars - we are determined to put a stop to their activities."

April 2, 2012