Bid for Arran to be first ‘no cold-caller’ island

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A major campaign has been launched to make Arran the first ‘no cold-caller’ island in Scotland.

There are concerns that the island is seen as a soft touch for unscrupulous workmen and bogus callers who target Arran’s ageing population with RET fares making it cheaper to bring their vans across.

A petition has been launched to gauge support for the initiative which would see the whole island come together to say ‘no’ to uninvited salespeople.

The plan would  be to erect signs on the Arran ferries announcing that the whole of Arran is a ‘no cold-calling zone’. There would also be notices around the island and warning stickers made available for householders to post to their front doors.

The campaign is being spearheaded by Lamlash resident Liz Rose who is working with Andy Moynihan of North Ayrshire Council Trading Standards.

It was a personal experience by Liz of a cold caller at her home, she shares with husband Mike, that prompted her to take action.

‘I had a salesman at the door offering green energy grants and despite telling him I have a biomass boiler and solar panels he was insistent I could still qualify for more. I contacted Trading Standards and they told me they believed he had not been a genuine.

‘I want to make the residents of Arran safer from bogus and fraudulent callers and help them to have the confidence to say no to sales people and to warn rougue traders and cold callers they are not welcome,’ she said.

Over the past month Liz has distributed petition forms around the island and has already collected more than 200 signatures with more forms still going out.

Liz said she has been given positive support by the various island improvement associations, ACVS, the SWI Federation representatives and various shops and tearooms all of whom she thanked and gave a special thanks to Ashley in the Wooleys shop in Lamlash.

She gave an update on the campaign to Tuesday’s meeting of Arran Community Council who pledged their support.

A ‘no cold calling zone’ is established to protect residents from unwanted doorstep callers. They are designed to act as a deterrent to stop businesses cold calling in areas that are clearly marked as No Cold Calling Zones. The zones empower local residents to feel confident about sending unwanted callers away.

It involves a massive education and engagement exercise supported by Trading Standards, Police Scotland and a range of partners.

It will start with door stickers and posters going up across the island and information packs being sent out to residents. The partners will look at ways the community can support vulnerable residents and find volunteers who will play active and important roles in providing that help.

It is similar to the Neighbourhood Watch schemes which were set up across the UK in the 1980s – but focusing on cold-callers.

For the move to get the go-ahead, there must first be support from the local community. While cold-calling zones exist across the UK, they are usually within residential areas.

Councillor Alex Gallagher, cabinet member for economy, said: ‘Criminals find it easy to come on to islands and then simply get on a boat and leave without trace.  There is frequently a population of elderly residents on islands, which makes them an attractive place for criminals to target.

‘We are trying to make Arran a place that cold-callers and scammers won’t want to visit. If we have and support from the local community, backed up with messages displayed everywhere – on lampposts and people’s doors – it will send a message that cold callers are not welcome in Arran.

‘The outcome is then a reduction in overall crime, including less doorstep crime and distraction sneak thefts.’

Zones are selected on the basis of risk and local resident demand or enthusiasm. The move will be discussed at the next Locality Planning Partnership meeting and the council hope they can move things forward early next year.

The no cold-caller warning sign.

Liz Rose with the petition signatures she has collected so far. 01_B44petition01

The door sticker warning sign. 01_B44petition02