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Warning about cold calling incidents in the Harrogate area targeting elderley

9 January 2024

Police in Harrogate have issued a warning to residents after cold calling incidents in the area.

Officers are aware of individuals and groups who have been targeting elderly residents by offering unsolicited garden maintenance work.

Unsolicited calling, or cold calling, is when people are approached by someone offering a service despite not requesting it.

Cold callers who go door-to-door can be pushy and threatening. They may charge inflated prices or pretend to find more and more jobs that need doing on a property.

While cold calling itself is not an offence, North Yorkshire Police frequently investigates frauds, thefts and burglaries that have happened as a result of doorstep calls.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said:

We’re aware of Harrogate households in different areas of the town being approached for landscaping and gardening work. We’re working proactively to address this.

As part of this work, we want residents to be aware of the risks and to know what to do if someone turns up at their door offering services like gardening work, building maintenance or selling goods.

We’d advise people to be wary – legitimate gardening and maintenance businesses usually work through recommendations and don’t need to knock on doors to get business.

And don’t feel bad about saying ‘no’. Normal businesses understand that people want to shop around and won’t try to pressure you into a decision on the spot. If they do, that’s a massive red flag.

Elderly people are particularly at risk. So if you have older parents, relatives or friends, please share this message with them and check they know how to stay safe if cold callers knock on their door.

Always give yourself plenty of time to make decisions about who you employ and ask friends, family and neighbours for recommendations.

If someone has cold called at your house and you feel like they are suspicious, please report it immediately by calling 101 – officers can and do attend streets based on such calls.

If anyone who cold calls tries to enter your home without your permission, is threatening or refuses to leave your property, call 999.

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