Arran is first island to ban cold callers

Want to read more?

We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Arran Banner – subscribe today for as little as 48 pence per week.

Already a subscriber?

 

Subscribe Now

By Hugh Boag

Arran is about to become the first official ‘no cold calling’ island in Scotland.

Signs are to be erected both at Ardrossan and Brodick warning  unscrupulous workmen and bogus callers that they are not welcome on Arran.

A new leaflet has also been produced by Arran Community Council to help communities deal with the menace. Doorstep caller warning stickers are also available for householders to post to their front doors.

The leaflet is entitled ‘Who’s that knocking at my door’. It explains that a  No Cold Calling Zone (NCCZ) is about helping local residents and communities to have confidence to say ‘no’ to uninvited salespeople and to warn rouge traders they are not welcome.

The leaflet has been produced with the assistance of the North Ayrshire Trading Standards team and Police Scotland.

Members of the community council were updated on the plans when they met last week. There heard the signs had been ordered and that Peel Ports at Ardrossan and Thomson Construction in Brodick had agreed they could be erected on their property.

Chairman Bill Calderwood said the move was welcome and said the Arran sergeant Dougie Robertson and his staff had been ‘very, very helpful’.

PC Colin Haddow attending the meeting said: ‘I really think the more signs we have up the better.’

There have been concerns for some time that the island is seen as a soft touch of unscrupulous workmen and bogus callers, who target Arran’s ageing population. Since the introduction of RET it has also been much cheaper for them to bring their vans on to the island.

Last year a petition campaign was launched spearheaded by Lamlash resident Liz Rose, after a personal experience by of a cold caller at her home, that gained hundred of signatures.

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 such. It is hoped the zones empower local residents to feel confident about sending unwanted callers away.

Going forward the initiative will involve a massive education and engagement exercise supported by Trading Standards, Police Scotland and a range of partners. 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.

Sergeant Robertson told residents:  ‘If you have any suspicions about a cold caller they will more than likely continue knocking on doors in your neighbourhood until they find someone who may be vulnerable.

‘If we don’t know about them we can’t do anything. So, if someone suspicious does call at your door, always report it and call 101 to help safeguard your community.’

Councillor Alex Gallagher, cabinet member for economy, said recently: ‘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 leaflet and stickers are available from community council members, health centres, the library, police office and ACVS office in Lamlash. They will also handed out at the Arran Elderly Forum next week.

Can we pop this in a box, thanks

Advice given in the booklet includes:

  • Remember you are not being rude if you refuse to discuss having work carried out on your home and shut the door.
  • Remember you are under no obligation to speak to anyone at the door.
  • Be aware an ID card may not be proof that your caller is genuine. It can be very easy to make an ID card on a computer.
  • Remember if you don’t know who you dealt with and don’t have an address to contact it is highly unlikely that any problems will be resolved.
  • On leaflets, if in doubt bin it.

 

Liz Rose with her ‘no cold calling’ petition. 01_B44petition01

The new leaflet which has been produced.

Liz Rose with her ‘no cold calling’ petition. 01_B44petition01

The new leaflet which has been produced. 01_B37petition02