1:05pm Thursday 23rd January 2014
TORFAEN and Blaenau Gwent have recorded at least 41 complaints of people breaching cold-calling zones over the last three financial years.
There are 112 cold calling zones covering 17350 homes across Gwent, attempting to help protect vulnerable and elderly residents from rouge traders.
A Freedom of Information Act request by Plaid Cymru has found that Torfaen had 39 breaches of the zones reported to the authority over the last three financial years, while there were two in Blaenau Gwent.
There were none in Newport or Caerphilly, while in Monmouthshire officers said specific figures weren’t available but estimated there were “less than 12 calls per year” where a trader has persisted in calling.
Torfaen told Plaid that warning and advice letters are written to the companies concerned when details are available.
“To date there have been no re-offenders for further action,” the FOI response says.
Plaid said Torfaen had the highest rate of breaches out of Wales’ local authorities.
Blaenau Gwent said “no action has been taken by the council against individuals or companies cold calling in designated zones.”
The number of cold-calling zones varies widely across Gwent – Torfaen covers 7,700 homes with 41 zones while Monmouthshire has 26 zones which include 7,000 homes.
The latter county says a consultation, ending in March, could take the total to 45 covering more than 8000 homes.
Caerphilly has 39 zones covering 2,026 homes, but in Blaenau Gwent there are two zones covering 440 homes.
Newport has just four zones including 184 homes within them.
Monmouthshire council estimates “less than 12” complaints a year against persistent callers. Its 26 zones cover 7,000 homes and this will be increased to more than 8,000 homes by the end of March – 21 per cent of all residences in the county.
Lindsay Whittle, Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, said: “Cold Calling Zones appear to have been successful in protecting vulnerable and elderly residents from doorstep salespeople, rogue traders and criminals.
“Where a problem has been identified, it is important that local authorities act so re-assurance can be provided to residents.
“I would also urge local people who have been bothered by doorstep salespeople or rogue traders trying to persuade people to have new drives laid to let their trading standards department, as well as the police know.”
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