Doorstep crime is plummeting due to a crackdown on cold callers, council leaders have claimed.
They point to the setting up of a thousand ‘No Cold Calling Zones’ across the country covering almost 350,000 households.
The creation of one of these zones in Luton has resulted in burglaries being slashed by 80 per cent, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).
In Guildford there were 64 distraction thefts – where crooks posing as meter readers or council officers con their way into people’s homes – in 2005.
But this type of theft had fallen by 86 per cent by the following year after the creation of ‘No Calling Zones’ in the town.
And in Cambridgeshire, a county which has more than 50 zones, distraction burglary has dropped by 11 per cent in the first two years since the zones were set up.
Councillor Hazel Harding, Chairwoman of the LGA’s Safer Communities board, said: ‘Most cold callers are nothing more than a nuisance, but a small number pose a serious threat, especially to older people.
‘We know that distraction burglaries and rogue trading are interlinked. All too often, the seemingly innocent doorstep seller is actually checking things out for a re-visit to carry out a burglary or distraction burglary.’
Zones are set up with the help of local councils as well as the police and community groups such as Neighbourhood Watch.
Anyone can apply for their neighbourhood to become a NCCZ, with grants of £300 available to cover the cost of leaflets, stickers and street signs.