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‘No Cold Calling Zone’ Pilots Launched

In a bid to deter or eradicate cold calling, a practice which sees rogue traders go for to door offering goods or services, Midlothian Council has launched two new pilot zones in Penicuik.

The town’s new ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ in Mauricewood and Cornbank are pioneering a new initiative, which if successful, could be rolled out across the region. This initiative is to deter cold callers, reduce doorstep crime and prevent distraction burglaries.

Launched by Midlothian Community Safety Partnership with the support of the Council’s Trading Standards service, Police Scotland and East and Midlothian Councils’ Public Protection Unit, the scheme also provides residents with information and advice on the problems caused by cold calling.

Residents in the pilot areas have already received a pack contains window and door stickers, a booklet about telephone fraud (Keep Calm and Hang Up), a booklet on tackling doorstep crime and other pieces of advice. In addition to this, large ‘No Cold Calling Zone’ signs have been attached to lampposts highlighting the scheme to would-be cold callers.

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, Councillor Jim Bryant said:

We are aware of rogue traders coming to Midlothian, often targeting Penicuik. They can sometimes adopt high pressure selling techniques, rarely give cancellation rights and leave the area after a day or so. These zones are intended to dissuade rogue traders from plying their business and to help residents deal with problems when they do arise.

Having consulted with residents through the Neighbourhood Watch scheme, we know that a majority of people in these areas are happy that pilot zones have been set up there.

However the zones are not there dissuade political activists, religious groups, recognised charities and market researchers from undertaking their business, though no resident, either in the zones or not, is obligated to speak to anyone at the door.

In six months’ time, participating households will receive a questionnaire to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the initiative. The council and Police Scotland will then assess whether to extend the scheme throughout the local authority area.

Anyone who is targeted by a cold caller should telephone Midlothian Council on 0131 270 7500 or the Police on 101.