Press releases

Neighbourhood Watch efforts to drive out cold callers rewarded with a national award

Neighbourhood Watch efforts to drive out cold callers rewarded with a national award     

A Somerset town united in its fight against cold calling traders see their Neighbourhood Watch Team (NWT) recognised with a national community award.

The Street team were rewarded with The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) Hero award after successfully uniting more than 1,000 homes to say ‘no’ to doorsteppers. 

Since a permanent Cold Calling Control Zone was set up across the town in September 2008 police records show that there have been no more distraction burglaries in the area.

Volunteers from the successful team were presented with a trophy at the TSI's Consumer Affairs & Trading Standards Conference in Brighton on 2 July.

Derek Robson, chairman of the Street Neighbourhood Watch Committee said: ‘We are really pleased to receive this recognition for our efforts over the past few years to stamp out cold calling, and the crime that tends to go along with it.
‘The idea of a Cold Calling Control Zone was first mooted in late 2006 after a number of incidents had occured in our town. We were concerned about the impact incidents such as deception, distraction burglary and doorstep selling.
‘We have 43 Neighbourhood Watch schemes each one representing a road or area within Street - they cover over 40 per cent of the town of Street.  Instead of individual street based control zones, it was agreed that we should try to adopt a town wide approach.’

The NWT launched their bold townwide control zone in June 2007 and signs warning doorsteppers to stay away went up at all road junctions.

Mr Robson said: ‘We advised our scheme co-ordinators and members of the procedures to follow, the phone numbers to ring, and details to note down so that the police could quickly follow up any incident. A code name of ‘Operation Fox’ was set up to ensure a high priority police response.’

At the end of a six month probation period a postal vote took place to decide whether the initiative should be made permanent - with an overwhelming vote for and only one against the Street community gave a thumbs up to make the zone permanent and oust cold callers for good.

Other NWTs across the country could soon be following in the footsteps of Street, rolling out further community wide cold calling control zones.
Mr Robson said: ‘We have received several outside inquiries about our success and have sent out our procedures to the Neighbourhood Watch Association.   The local police are very enthusiastic about this scheme and want it to continue.’

Andy Fowler from Somerset Trading Standards said: ‘It is fantastic news that Street NWT are receiving a Hero award - they are well deserving of this recognition.
‘They have shown that communities can rally together to say no to rogue traders and distraction burglary.
 ‘Hundreds of cold calling control zones are currently operating successfully across the UK with reports of significant crime reduction and a greater feeling of security amongst residents.’


Notes to Editors

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 608 9430 or email  

An online toolkit to support trading standards staff in their fight against bogus salesmen is available on the TSI website together with an information pack to help local communities set up cold-calling control zones.

The Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2009
The national Consumer Affairs and Trading Standards Conference 2009, organised by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) is a 'must' for consumer journalists!
The TSI-hosted annual Conference and Exhibition is the leading consumer affairs and trading standards event in Europe.
The 2009 Conference is being held at the Brighton Centre from Tuesday 30 June to Thursday 02 July. The conference press office will be open from 9am on Monday 29 June (the day before the event starts) until 5pm on Thursday 02 July.
Journalists and photographers are welcome to attend but should contact the press office on 0845 608 9430 to arrange passes.
The conference is hosted by TSI chairman Peter Denard and the main sponsor is the British Toy and Hobby Association.
Some 3,000 people are attending the conference, including representatives from local and central government and those interested in fair trading, representatives of business and commerce, together with consumer organisations. This makes it an ideal place for consumer affairs journalists to mingle and make contacts!
Trading Standards Institute
The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.
Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.
TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline trading standards services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.
They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional trading standards contributions and interventions.