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Should after dark cold calling be banned? Fury in Diss as charity knocks on doors at 9pm

Diss, Norfolk. Sandra Rice who got cold called by Marie Curie Cancer Charity at 8:45pm even tho she has no cold calling signs on her door ANL-140319-111004001

Diss, Norfolk. Sandra Rice who got cold called by Marie Curie Cancer Charity at 8:45pm even tho she has no cold calling signs on her door ANL-140319-111004001

Cold callers for the Marie Curie Cancer Care charity have been criticised for knocking on doors in and around Diss as late as 9pm at night.

Calls have been made for the charity, and any others, to stop after-dark cold calls.

Many, particularly the vulnerable and those living on their own, have been left frightened in their own homes in recent weeks thanks to cold callers, whose ultimate aim is to obtain bank details.

But Marie Curie is standing by the practice.

A spokesman for the cancer charity said: “Our door-to-door fundraising is conducted within the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association’s guidelines which permits activity until 9pm.”

Sandra Rice, of Willbye Avenue in Diss was cold called by a man on behalf of Marie Curie at 8.45pm two weeks ago.

She has put up her own ‘No Cold Calling’ sign but she said the collector told her he didn’t see it.

Mrs Rice, 67, said: “It wasn’t so scary for me, but I’m concerned for the older people who do find it scary.

“I asked why he was allowed to knock so late, and he said he must work until 9pm.”

Jane Spillings, of Palgrave, also saw cold callers knocking on an elderly person’s door at 8.45pm. She spoke to them about it, telling them that it was “out of order”.

Like Mrs Rice, she said Marie Curie’s cancer work was vital and admirable, but said that after-dark calls were unacceptable.

She is a hairdresser in Diss and had spoken to many older people about cold callers.

She said: “I’ve spoken to people who are frightened when they come knocking. Surely there are enough doors to knock in daylight hours?

“Some people can’t even open the door and shout at them through the letterbox saying they don’t answer the door at night.”

A spokesman for Marie Curie said: “Marie Curie takes any complaints and feedback seriously and we monitor the activity closely. Fundraisers have been conducting some door to door fundraising in the Diss area recently on behalf of Marie

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Marie Curie. This fundraising is a vital and cost effective way of raising much needed funds to help us continue providing free care to people with terminal illnesses and their families.

“We also instruct our fundraisers to observe no cold calling signs. They will only ask people for their direct debit details and never ask for cash. They will also be wearing branded clothing and will carry ID. If anyone is ever in any doubt about the authenticity of a fundraiser they should contact our Supporter Relations team free of charge on 0800 716 146.”

Norfolk Council Council cabinet member for public protection, Daniel Roper, said that charities should think again about after-dark cold calls.

He said: “I would encourage them (Marie Curie) to reflect on the practice. Although the regulations allow them to do so, I would say that cold calling after dark is ill-advised, particularly when dealing with vulnerable people or people living on their own.

“I don’t see how it would be productive for the charities when it is likely to cause distress or inconvenience to members of the public.”

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council’s Trading Standards team said that residents could get hold of no cold calling stickers by calling the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or by getting in touch with their local police teams.

The spokesman added: “Alternatively, residents may want to consider looking into setting up a more formal no cold calling zone. There is good information about these schemes at www.norfolk.gov.uk/nccz, or, again, by contacting their local police teams.”

 

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