Wales

£1.8m all-Wales campaign to tackle doorstep crime

A campaign is being launched to warn vulnerable people across Wales about doorstep crime.

TV and radio adverts and a mailshot warning about the dangers of cold callers will run through May and June.

The £1.8m campaign follows the case of Anne Cornock, aged 76, of Sully, Vale of Glamorgan, who was cheated out of £272,000 by a doorstep caller.

"Doorstep crime is an insidious and deceitful act," said assistant chief constable Richard Lewis.

Representatives from the police, trading standards, and the Welsh Assembly Government, which is funding the initiative, will attend its launch at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

The All-Wales Doorstep Crime Group's (AWDCG) campaign will feature an animated "ice-man" character who will highlight the issues of cold calling.

It offers advice in the form of three steps aimed at reducing the number of rogue trader and distraction burglary victims across Wales.

It is also hoped it will boost the reporting of incidents to authorities.

According to the group, doorstep crime is no more common in Wales than in any other part of the UK.

There were 104 incidents reported in 2009, the lowest recorded across Wales for five years, said the group.

However calls to trading standards showed a 10% increase in reports year on year, it said.

Women aged over 80 who live on their own were especially vulnerable, said the group.

"Victims of doorstep crimes are our parents, grandparents, friends and neighbours," said Mr Lewis.

"Those who carry out these crimes have no place within our communities."

Mr Lewis urged people to spread the message and advice carried by the campaign to anyone they know who might be vulnerable.

"It is also vitally important that people provide the police service with information about suspicious incidents, to us to help us remove those who commit these crimes from our streets," he said.

Dave Riley of Trading Standards said rogue traders were "unscrupulous criminals who take advantage of householders by pressurising them into making hasty decisions".

"This campaign is an important step forward in our work in Wales," he said.

'Intimidated'

Mrs Cornock was conned out of her life savings over the period of a year after she agreed to have her driveway paved by tradesmen who turned up unannounced at her home.

She died of cancer shortly afterwards. Her son, David Cornock, BBC Wales' parliamentary correspondent, said: "The offenders destroyed the last year of my mother's life.

Image caption The doorstep campaign features the "ice-man" cold caller character

"She was too ashamed and intimidated to tell anyone, which had a huge impact on her health. By the time she saw a doctor, it was too late.

"Our mother was a devoted mother and grandmother, a decent woman who worked hard all her life. She was an intelligent, sensible woman - if she could fall for this, anyone could.

"My advice to other vulnerable people out there is that if somebody unexpected knocks your door, just be extra cautious and very careful.

"In fact the safest option is not to even open the door and engage with them, because there really are some evil, nasty people out there preying on vulnerable people."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites