New zone will freeze out cold callers

Coun Alex Donaldson is calling for a No Cold Calling Zone for The Lonnen
Coun Alex Donaldson is calling for a No Cold Calling Zone for The Lonnen

COLD callers could be frozen out at a housing estate in South Tyneside.

Older people in the Cragside, Fellside and The Lonnen areas of Cleadon Park, South Shields, are often targeted by salespeople, charity collectors and strangers offering to do odd jobs.

In a bid to stop residents feeling worried about opening their doors, local councillors Jim Foreman and Alex Donaldson want the area to become an exclusion zone for cold callers.

There are similar zones in the borough – at Winship Close, Canberra Drive, the Aged Miners’ Homes off Marsden Road and the Mariners’ Cottages in Broughton Road, all South Shields; Lindsay Court, Whitburn; and Bede Burn View and Crusade Walk, Jarrow.

If approved, the zone would be supported by the council’s Safer South Tyneside Partnership, Northumbria Police and South Tyneside Homes.

The streets’ entry points would have warning signs and homes would display window stickers.

The exclusion would not apply to regular roundsmen like window cleaners and milkmen.

Coun Foreman said: “We don’t want elderly residents being afraid to open their doors. They shouldn’t have to feel vulnerable in their own homes.

“If the exclusion zone was approved, then I think a lot of people would feel safer.

“In the last 12 months there have been a few incidents which have been brought to my attention and hopefully this would see the end of them.”

Last summer, a man was worrying pensioners by knocking on their doors and offering to cut their grass.

In September, a man asking for payment to do odd jobs also caused alarm.

Coun Donaldson suggested Cragside, Fellside and The Lonnen as exclusion zones at a recent Neighbourhood Watch meeting at South Shields Town Hall.

“People shouldn’t have to worry about who they are opening their front doors to,” he said.

“Although sometimes these cold callers will be genuine, they could be potentially letting anyone into their home. It’s especially worrying on these cold dark nights.

“We would like to know what residents think about the proposals, and whether they would welcome it.”

Coun Tracey Dixon, the council’s lead member for area management and community safety, said: “The council takes the issue of cold calling very seriously, especially in areas of the borough populated by elderly and vulnerable residents. We have seven No Cold Calling Zones across South Tyneside, with a number of areas at the early proposal and consultation stages.

“We work closely with the community to ensure everybody feels safe in their home and communicate key messages through a number of different mechanisms, including leaflets, DVDs and our text message alert service.”

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