Winter Wellbeing - doorstep crime

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Cheshire East Council and its partners are offering a range of advice and support to residents on how to keep warm, well and safe this winter.

This week, we discuss doorstep crime and rogue traders looking to make a 'quick buck' in the lead up to Christmas.

Cheshire East Council is urging people to be wary of rogue traders and doorstep criminals this winter.

Combating doorstep crime is a high priority for the Council and it can affect anyone — but often older and vulnerable adults are more at risk from becoming victims of bogus cold calling and rogue door-to-door sellers.

And with the festive season at its height, the temptation to buy goods on the cheap is strong — but people are urged to avoid these people, who may rip them off.

Cheshire East Council's consumer protection and investigation team has a nominated neighbour scheme to help tackle the problem and is advising residents to take advantage of the initiative.

The project means people can be protected by someone they know and trust, such as a neighbour or relative.

The vulnerable person is given a card that they hold up to a window or door which advises any unidentified or unexpected caller to go to the address of a nominated neighbour. This person will then check the caller's identity.

If they are genuine, the nominated neighbour will return with them and supervise the visit to make sure that nothing untoward takes place and will remain there until the caller has left.

Councillor Les Gilbert, Cabinet member in charge of communities and regulatory services, said: "People have a right to live safely and independently in their own homes but many find themselves feeling more vulnerable during the winter period.

"Sadly, bogus callers target vulnerable people in our communities and abuse their trust, as not everyone has the confidence to deal robustly with callers at their door.

"However, this scheme sends a clear message that our community is standing together to tackle this type of criminality."

Sean Reynolds, Chairman of the Cheshire East Safeguarding Adults Board, added: "If you have an elderly or vulnerable neighbour or relative, then please come forward as a nominated neighbour for them.

"A simple phone call to Citizens Advice Consumer Service is all that is needed for an information pack to be sent out.

"This scheme will help limit the opportunity for doorstep callers to con their way into homes. Once they fail to gain access and the community is alerted to their activities it will act as a strong deterrent to stop them returning in the future."

If you would like a nominated neighbour scheme pack sent to you, or to a vulnerable relative or resident of Cheshire East, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 040506.