Date: 16/07/2007 Category: Community Safety
New control zones in Medway will make bogus workmen a thing of the past. Medway Council, Kent Police and Medway Trading Standards have set up Medway’s first two cold calling control zones in Strood and Brompton to banish doorstep crime from the area. The zones are part of an ongoing campaign to stop cowboy tradesmen from knocking on doors or soliciting their businesses, such as driveway and handyman repairs, and roofers. The initiative will not restrict legitimate businesses from calling door-to-door, but will require cold callers to show a genuine photo card identification. They will also reduce distraction burglary, where a caller distracts a homeowner while an accomplice enters the house and steals goods or money. Like Neighbourhood Watch, signs are placed in the control zone areas warning rogue traders of the operation. Concerned residents can also report any unwanted calls to Trading Standards on 01634 333555, who will then visit the homeowner to find out more. Medway Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Enforcement, Cllr Rehman Chishti said: “Trading Standards receive regular reports where residents hand over thousands of pounds to illegitimate businesses who call door-to-door. “Residents in Medway face problems with bogus workmen and distraction burglary. It is now well established that this type of crime and rogue traders are often linked. “These control zones are part of the council and police’s joint partnership to make Medway a safer place and stamp out this type of crime in Medway.” Detective Sergeant Adam Marshall of Medway Police added: "The zones will act as a good deterrent and will bring awareness to the community and tell them how to deal with rogue traders. "By working together with the community in this way we can take steps towards preventing these crimes.’ Residents and members of the press can find out more about the Cold Calling Control Zones at three meetings at the following times and venues: Monday, 23 July from 10am to 12noon at Morrisons’ car park in Commercial Road, Strood. Tuesday, 24 July from 10am to 12noon at Strood Age Concern, The Chris Ellis Centre, Brompton Lane, Strood. Wednesday, 25 July from 10am to 12.15pm at the Lampard Centre, Sallyport Gardens, Brompton. Medway Council’s Trading Standards team advise the public to shop around before agreeing to any home improvement work. The Fair Trader scheme is a council-run scheme which holds a list of Trading Standards accredited businesses. If you would like a list of member businesses or to find out about joining the Fair Trader Scheme, visit www.medway.gov.uk/fairtrader or call 01634 333333.