Police move to protect two Northampton streets from cold callers

Andrew Langford (second left) with police officers at the launch of the no cold calling zone in Samwell Way
Andrew Langford (second left) with police officers at the launch of the no cold calling zone in Samwell Way

Two streets in Northampton have been given increased protection from salesmen and other unwanted callers.

Samwell Lane and Lynmore Close in Hunsbury Meadows have been designated as a 'no cold-calling' zone after a rise in nusiance or criminal visitors.

Police and trading standards put up signs on lamposts today, leaving such callers in no doubt of their message: don't bother.

Andrew Langford said: "Residents have expressed the wish that they don't want cold callers and there have been quite a number of doorstep crimes here.

"The signs have a number they can call that goes straight through to the control room. A police response will then check out the caller."

Although many regard cold callers as an irritation, Trading Standards will only listen to requests to set up a zone if there have been repeated crimes associated with them.

Often the cold caller will not only attempt to make a sale with pushy tactics, they can be a distraction for a burglary going on round the back.

Mandy Dawson, of Samwell Way, said her street more than met the criteria.

She said: "It's pretty constant round here. We all get lots of people knocking, posting fliers and selling things like art. There have been a few burglaries.

"Seeing the police taking action makes me feel a bit less vulnerable."

The range of items people claim to sell on the doorstep can vary wildly. Out-of-date or unlabelled fish and dusters are very common doorstep goods that can sell for ridiculous prices simply in order to get rid of the vendor.

Mr Langford said: "We had a recent case in Towcester where someone paid £70 for a pack of dusters and a bit of polish."

Although Samwell Way and Lynmore Close are exceptions. most of the other 61 no cold-calling zones across Northamptonshire are in streets with lots of elderly residents.

They tend to have older-looking homes and take up offers of works more readily when they are offered, something Mr Langford went against common sense: "Good quality companies don't need to drum up business by knocking on anyone's door."

Prevention Team Leader Paul Golley, of Northamptonshire Police, said: “Our main priority in supporting the no cold-calling zones is to protect people and to prevent them from becoming victims of doorstep crime such as distraction burglary.

“We know there are often links between rogue trading and those who commit distraction burglaries so the idea of these zones is to deter potential criminals from targeting people.

“Our message to residents in all areas is ‘if you’re not sure, don’t open the door.’ We would like to urge people not to open the door to unexpected callers.”