Issued By
Durham County Council



People in County Durham were today (Monday, November 11) warned to be on their guard against foot in the door traders and bogus callers.

Durham County Council's Consumer Services officers are joining crime prevention officers from Durham Constabulary in shopping centres throughout the county to hammer home the message not to fall victim to doorstep scams.

Today (Monday, November 11) marks the start of the Trading Standards Institute's annual National Consumer Week, which this year focuses on doorstep sales and the dangers of distraction burglaries.

Phillip Holman, the County Council's Head of Consumer Services said:  "We would urge people, particularly the elderly, to be on their guard against unexpected callers at their door.

"Research shows that many jobbing builders and other itinerant callers may be trying to find out if people keep cash at home.

"If you do employ these cold callers you're likely to be overcharged for poor quality or non-existent work and you may also be targeted for future scams.

"Our advice would be to use a door chain or other security devices and if unsure ask them to leave.  Genuine callers will be happy to return when a friend or relative is present."

During National Consumer Week, Consumer Services and police officers will be in shopping centres advising shoppers of their rights when buying goods or services from home, and warning about common junk mail postal scams including prize draws and homeworking offers.  The Police will give advice on security measures.

Don Ross, Deputy Leader of the County Council, said:  "It 's important not only to be aware of your legal rights when buying from home but also of the dangers of bogus callers who target vulnerable residents.  We fully support the efforts of the Police and other agencies in tackling these problems to protect residents of County Durham."

Note to News Editors:  Durham County Council will be raising consumer awareness on a number of issues -


Dealing with Junk Mail - The Mailing Preference Service

Unwanted Tele-Sales Calls - The Telephone Preference Service

Homeworking Scams

Prize Draw, Competition and Lottery Scams

Mis-selling of gas and electricity

Buying by Mail Order - Your rights in relation to distance selling


The Public Awareness Campaign will visit the following shopping centres -


Monday               Eden Shopping Centre, Peterlee

Tuesday              Milburngate Shopping Centre, Durham

Wednesday        St Cuthbert's Shopping Centre, Chester le Street

Thursday            Derwent Centre, Consett

Friday                 Newgate Centre, Bishop Auckland


For further information contact Peter Fleming, Durham County Council's Assistant Head of Consumer Services on 0191 383 3584 or Craig Hudson, divisional manager on 0191 383 3707.

For information on crime prevention initiatives contact Brian George, Community Safety Department, Durham Police on 0191 386 4929.

Trading Standards Institute Press Office can be contacted on 0890 872 9030