A Cornwall village is banning cold callers from knocking on doors in their neighbourhood.
The move is designed to protect residents from becoming the victims of crime.
Carnon Downs villagers say banning cold callers from their front doors will protect people from rogue doorstep tradesmen and fraudsters.
The move, which is supported by Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards team and Devon and Cornwall Police, follows a crackdown on criminals who trick their way into vulnerable people's homes.
Road signs are being put up to advise people that two streets in the village are a "No Cold Calling Zone" to send a clear message to criminals that they will be committing a criminal offence if they cold call a home.
Over the last year the Council’s Trading Standards team say they have responded to more than 150 reports of doorstep fraud.
According to Cornwall council, these cold calls come in the form of bogus gardeners, rogue roofers, dodgy driveway firms and other home improvement scammers, all of whom are well-practised in the art of persuading homeowners into handing over money for over-priced, poor quality or unnecessary work.
Paul Masters, Cornwall Council’s Strategic Director for Neighbourhoods, said: “In all of these cases the fraudster called at the door without being invited.
“In other parts of the UK, No Cold Calling Zones have proved very successful in providing local residents or communities with the confidence to say “NO” to uninvited salespeople or to warn rogue traders and cold-callers that they are being watched.”
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The volume of fraud cases in the area means that criminals have likely identified the village as a worthwhile target area.
Leanne McLean, Trading Standards Lead Officer for Doorstep Fraud, said: “The new signs will also remind all tradesmen who knock at the door that they commit a criminal offence if they do not leave when asked to do so by the homeowner.”
PCSO Emil Gabriele from Devon & Cornwall Police, who helped to establish this first No Cold Calling Zone in Cornwall, said: “These criminals prey on the vulnerable with no regard to the effect their actions have.
“It is hoped that by setting up this No Cold Calling Zone the partnership between local residents, Cornwall Council Trading Standards and Devon & Cornwall Police can help to eliminate this type of criminality from our communities.”
In 2014, Cornwall Council Trading Standards Service and Devon and Cornwall Police paired up to tackle commodity fraud.
This tends to come in the form of investment scams and involves fraudsters cold calling potential victims on the telephone to offer them the ‘opportunity’ to invest in unusual products, such as plots of land or diamonds.
The victim is given misleading information about the future value of these products which are sold to them at inflated prices.
The “trading company” then disappears and, with it, the victims’ money.
According to the Trading Standards Service, victims can lost tens of thousands of pounds and in some cases, their life savings.