RESIDENTS have been told to remain vigilant after a series of incidents of "persistent and aggressive" doorstep selling.

Trading standards officers in Darlington were alerted following incidents in the town and in nearby Middleton-St-George.

Reports have been received of men knocking on residents’ doors attempting to sell them overpriced household items, often telling a sob story to try and gain sympathy.

The council says it has seen an increase in the number of incidents where doorstep sellers have reinforced their high pressure selling tactics with intimidating behaviour.

Dawn Taylor, the council’s trading standards and animal health manager, said: “As the country unlocks and the weather improves, there may be an increase in unwanted doorstep sellers. No one should feel pressured on their own doorstep into buying goods they don’t really want.

"Many people can feel too frightened to say ‘no’ especially when the seller is persistent. The best defence you have is simply not to open your door.

“Our community has an important part to play in helping us to do our job by letting us know about any doorstep sellers who are making misleading claims or trading unfairly. If the seller is behaving aggressively and you feel threatened, report it to the police.”

Officers say they are working with Durham Police and other law enforcement partners to stamp this out.

Trading standards’ advice for residents:

• Not sure? Don’t open the door

• If you choose to answer the door, use a door chain or bar

• If the seller tries to engage you in conversation, cut them off and close the door

• Never buy goods or services from a seller who turns up on your doorstep out of the blue

• Trust your instincts and never allow uninvited sellers into your home

If you have any information which can assist trading standards, please email or you can use the online reporting form (anonymously) which is available at