Teller ‘saved Bute lady from cold caller’

An elderly Bute resident was only saved from handing over cash to a bogus tradesman when a bank teller recognised her and alerted her family.

The incident, reported at Bute Community Council this week, is one of the most alarming examples yet of ‘cold callers’ trying to get money out of local people in return for unsolicited ‘home improvement’ work – often carried out to a poor standard.

Inspector Gordon Anderson, Police Scotland’s senior officer on Bute, told BCC members that while cold calling was less of a problem on Bute than elsewhere, spring and early summer was a time to be particularly watchful.

“You do tend to get them at this time of year as people start to think about doing work on their homes,” he said.

“There was an incident in the past where a trader took a lady to the bank so she could get money out to pay them.

“Fortunately, the teller in the bank knew the lady concerned and contacted her family, and we took it on from there.

“There was also a van driver on the island last week, trying to find somewhere to sell cheap generators,” he continued.

“They stopped someone in the street and the person turned out to be an off-duty police officer, who then contacted us.”

Local Argyll and Bute councillor Len Scoullar told the meeting that following discussions between the authority’s trading standards department and the police, funding was to be made available for community groups such as BCC to have ‘no cold calling’ notices made.

Cllr Scoullar said the notices could also be put up on lamp-posts to create ‘no cold calling’ zones covering several homes, not just on individual houses.