CON men should stay away from Hartford where a new no cold-calling zone has been set up to deter cowboy traders and distraction burglars from tricking people out of their money. Signs marking the no cold-calling zone were put up last week after a resid

CON men should stay away from Hartford where a new "no cold-calling zone" has been set up to deter cowboy traders and distraction burglars from tricking people out of their money.

Signs marking the no cold-calling zone were put up last week after a resident raised the alarm after con men tried to lure him into paying thousands to "re-seal" his driveway.

As reported by The Hunts Post in February, Philip Grantham, 79, warned readers to be on their guard after he was left with a demand for £3,500 - 10 times the original price quoted - for work that was never carried out.

The men eventually settled for £200, but all they did was "wash his drive" with a pressure hose.

On Wednesday Mr Grantham, who helped Cambridgeshire County Council Trading Standards officers launch the zone in Nightingdale Close, said: "I think the no cold calling zone is a very good idea."

As well as two large police notices being erected on lampposts, all seven homes have been given packs including no cold-calling window stickers and a card to show callers.

Trading Standards officer Andrew Fayers said: "As people get older, they get more trusting. They have come from an era when they could trust people.

"The scheme is not only a deterrent to con men, but it also empowers people to say no. They can point to the sign in their window or show the caller the card saying we don't want callers here.

"We don't know how many rogues it deters because we don't know how many of them just pass by but we do know that these incidents decrease and that people feel safer in their homes."

Crime reduction officer for Cambridgeshire police, Julie Hanrahan, added: "This is a good education exercise.

"People still fall for the old water board trick as some people don't realise that the water, electricity and gas boards have all gone.

"The tricksters are getting canny and they will show an identity card. People should never phone the number on the card as it will be answered by one of these people's accomplices."

There are now 48 no cold-calling zones in Huntingdonshire and 94 in Cambridgeshire.

INFORMATION: To contact Trading Standards, see www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk