Edinburgh winning war on bogus callers

Police and council staff inform residents in Currie about the anti-cold calling campaign. Picture: Neil Hanna
Police and council staff inform residents in Currie about the anti-cold calling campaign. Picture: Neil Hanna
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EDINBURGH is winning the war on bogus traders who prey upon the vulnerable thanks to “no cold-calling zones”.

Almost 70 such areas now exist in the Capital, more than the rest of Scotland put together.

And three new ones look set to be created – in Weavers Knowe Crescent, Riccarton Drive and Riccarton Avenue – following a visit to Currie by police and Trading Standards yesterday.

According to previous surveys, communities which vote to become part of the initiative can typically expect a 90 per cent reduction in nuisance calls.

The latest crackdown saw officers hand out information packs and stickers to around 400 households as they urged people to look out for their neighbours and report any suspicious activity.

Residents were warned not to allow cold callers into their homes and told they should not feel pressured into buying unwanted products or services.

Pc Greig Stephen said: “Bogus callers remain a persistent problem for us and unfortunately can result in someone being scammed out of a significant amount of money.

“We want to stop this crime from happening in the first place and are working closely with our partners at Trading Standards in order to highlight key prevention messages.

“Bogus callers can come across as extremely confident and will try to pressure homeowners into parting with their cash for a product or service they don’t need. Anyone can be convinced by the lies these criminals create.

“We always recommend never paying for goods or services to strangers who turn up unsolicited at your door.

Residents were expected to vote “overwhelmingly” in favour of joining the initiative. The moves comes after conmen targeted addresses across the north and west of the Capital earlier this month in Silverknowes Avenue, Tyler’s Acre Gardens, Broomhall Crescent and Weavers Knowe Crescent.

They also visited an 82-year-old in Strathalmond Road, Cammo, tricking him out of more than £1000 after persuading him that he needed urgent repairs to his roof. The crooks even accompanied their victim to the bank, where he withdrew cash and handed it to the men, who then fled.

Allan Murray and his wife, Patricia, left, both 78, who have lived on Weavers Knowe Crescent for more than half a century, agreed that cold calling had been getting worse.

Mr Murray said: “This kind of initiative is great and makes people feel a lot safer. This is a growing problem. When we first moved here there was no real crime – apart from the occasional break-in – but it has become more prevalent.”

The council also runs a Trusted Trader scheme, details of which can be found at www.trustedtrader.scot