POLICE have issued a warning against a security alarm company currently operating in the Derwentside area.

In an official press release Durham Constabulary has criticised high pressure sales tactics used by Stockton-based Catch Security.

They say the company is offering alarm systems at massively over the odds prices, wrongly stating there has been a big increase in crime in the area, claiming there is a guaranteed police response if the alarm is activated and have said the equipment is police approved.

In fact police forces do not recommend individual security products or companies.

Anne Raine, 61, of Crookhall, Consett, was nearly persuaded to buy the security equipment. She said: "A salesman called at the house and quoted me £1,700 for the alarm system. They said they were linked to police and that if I was alone in the house and was in trouble, then by pressing a panic button a doctor or an ambulance would be there in two minutes."

Mrs Raine signed a contract but cancelled the deal the next day after advice from her son.

Police said a similar system from a trade accredited body such as Integrity 2000, AISC or SSAIB, would cost about £400. They said the crime rate in Derwentside is one of the lowest in the county and said personal details about your home should never be revealed over the phone.

Derwentside crime manager Det Insp Ron Vine said: "The company's methods are making us genuinely angry because people are being told crime is on the increase and that we, the police, approve of the company. This is simply not true."

For free, impartial advice call PC Neil Fawcett on (01207) 504204. If anyone has any complaints regarding Catch Security they should either call the police or trading standards at Durham County Hall on (0191) 383 3589.

No-one was available for comment from Catch Security