Billington residents say ‘no’ to cold callers

Billington councillor Ged Mirfin
Billington councillor Ged Mirfin
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A scheme to fight rogue traders and distraction burglaries is set to come to a village in the Ribble Valley.

Following a spate of recent break-ins in Billington, ward councillor Ged Mirfin, has negotiated with Lancashire County Council Trading Standards a village-wide consultation for the establishment of a no cold calling control zone, which could cover the whole of Billington.

The move follows calls from concerned local residents, especially elderly and vulnerable, who believe thieves masquerading as doorstep sales people have been deliberately spying on their houses to identify potential targets when occupiers were out or at work.

Coun. Mirfin said: “Sales people turning up unannounced is a huge problem in Billington. Members of the public should never feel pressured into making a decision or agreeing to buy anything on the doorstep.

“Many councils have designated certain areas as ‘Cold Calling Control Zones’ or ‘No Cold Calling Zones’. NCCZs are initiatives that are intended to protect residents from bogus doorstep callers.

“However, Cold Calling Control Zones are areas which are considered to be vulnerable to doorstep crime and where residents have, collectively, stated that they do not want cold callers.

“The purpose of the scheme is to empower residents, and to encourage them to work as an entire community and increase the reporting of related crimes and incidents.”

He added: “Trading Standards officers are in the process of writing to Billington residents about the proposals and if they receive more than 50% of positive replies, they will go ahead and introduce the scheme. High visibility signs will be erected in the streets indicating that they are no cold-calling areas and crime prevention packs, including door advice stickers will be delivered to local residents. The key message to householders is ‘if you’re not sure, DON’T open the door’. The warning to callers is “Stay away. Cold-callers are NOT welcome’.”