DARLINGTON Borough Council trading standards officers are asking residents to remain vigilant following a series of persistent and aggressive doorstep selling incidents in the west end of Darlington.

The team has received reports of men knocking on residents’ doors attempting to sell them overpriced household items, often telling a sob story to try and gain sympathy.

On two occasions, polite refusals were challenged, with one seller getting so annoyed that a resident feared their property may be damaged and another seller who refused to leave the doorstep and persisted in shouting at a resident as they closed the door.

Trading standards, part of the Community Safety Team, has reportedly seen an increase in the number of incidents where doorstep sellers have reinforced their high-pressure selling tactics with intimidating behaviour and is working with Durham Constabulary to stop this.

Councillor Jonathan Dulston, Darlington Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for stronger communities said: "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. 

“Please look out for your neighbours, particularly those you know are elderly or vulnerable, and if you see anything suspicious, report it.”

Dawn Taylor, the council’s trading standards and animal health manager, added: “Trading standards operates at the heart of our community, actively seeking out and dealing with rogue traders. 

"Residents have an important part to play in helping us to do our job, by letting us know about any doorstep callers who won’t take no for an answer.  If you feel threatened, report it to the Police.”

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 Darlington Council are asking residents to email tradingstandards@darlington.gov.uk