Cold caller alert

On Thursday 8 April my wife and I were approached by a youngish male as we unloaded shopping at our front door. Rather rapidly flashing a piece of official-looking paper in front of my face but whipping it away with speed, he claimed to be a participant in some sort of scheme to get himself back on his feet after service in the Military. He claimed to have suffered from mental health problems. He also claimed to have received real support from Milverton’s Church of England Rector, Helene. We could not deal with this at the time, but he seemed to be reluctant to let us get on with our task and lingered, delivering his narrative. He claimed to be from Middlesbrough (he had a north-eastern accent certainly). I told him I would speak to him if he returned in half an hour. I saw a second man of a similar age lingering outside The Globe Inn and, ultimately, entering the main door.

I used that time to try to verify his story, being perfectly willing to help if it were true, but neither Helene nor Louise Fyne, community police officer, were available. When the man returned I told him I had not been able to verify any of his story and did not intend to pursue our conversation further. He became more insistent, claiming that he had made lots of sales up and down the street. I congratulated him on his success and closed the door. .

I reported this matter to the Avon and Somerset Constabulary via the 101 system. They called me back that evening, taking details of appearance and the story he gave us. They advised me that this should have been a 999 call. They fully supported the suggestion that I inform the community that this should be the procedure. Their advice is not to engage with the characters who cold-call and if they adopt an insistent attitude, such as that described above, call 999 so that they might be apprehended. The police, I was informed, regard these activities as acts of nuisance and as such they will be treated as a legitimate call for the emergency number.

A Milverton resident.