Time up for ‘cold caller’ rogues

THE expertise of a police community support officer from Portishead is helping to clamp down on rogue traders across North Somerset.

Deborah Charman helped set up the first No Cold Calling scheme in North Somerset in October 2009 in Portishead. Following its success, more than 40 zones were rolled out across Pill and Portishead last year, but now other towns and villages in the region are following suit in a bid to safeguard vulnerable members of the community.

PCSO Charman said: “Households within the zones are each given crime prevention advice and those which have already been set up have shown a significant reduction of unexpected callers.”

The zones, introduced by Avon and Somerset police in partnership with North Somerset Trading Standards, display notices warning people that cold calling will not be tolerated. Anyone who spots unknown visitors in the area is advised to inform the neighbourhood policing teams.

Numerous zones now exist across North Somerset but people living in Portbury were keen for the entire village to become a No Cold Calling Zone, rather than designated areas within it.

PCSO Charman added: “Villains often strike in communities near to a motorway because they know they can make a quick getaway, so Portbury residents were keen to make theirs the first village in the district to launch the scheme whereby the whole community was involved.”

Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Roy Ball said: “Portbury residents welcomed the opportunity to introduce No Cold Calling Zones and worked hard to successfully bring the project to fruition.”

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The Portbury project has proved so successful that nearby Clapton in Gordano has followed suit and has also recently become a No Cold Calling Zone.