HOUSEHOLDERS love them - but criminals hate them.

That's the verdict on No Cold Calling Zones from North Yorkshire County Council, which is extending its scheme to rid neighbourhoods of doorstep crime.

The first zone was introduced just over a year ago and since then almost 70 schemes have been put in place around the county, to deter doorstep conmen and rogue traders.

Now, the council, along with North Yorkshire Police and local community groups, is introducing another four zones in three villages outside York.

They will be launched later this month in Long Marston, Angram and Hutton Wandesley, which have been nominated by the local neighbourhood watch groups.

Senior trading standards officer David Titchener said a survey of local residents would be done next Tuesday, to make sure they were all in support of the zones.

He said: "We now have 69 No Cold Calling Zones across the county. They have been very effective which is why they are proving so popular."

He said there had been three reports of cold callers in the villages in recent weeks.

He said: "There is a main road going through Long Marston so rogue traders can go in and out and disappear very quickly."

The scheme works by encouraging neighbours to support each other in resisting bogus workmen, high pressure sales people, and bogus officials.

Posters and labels are displayed prominently in every home in the zone, and householders have access to special phone lines to report incidents. Signs will be posted around the boundaries of the zones to warn off cold-callers.

County councillor John Fort, executive member with responsibility for trading standards, said: "Quite simply, this is about local residents or communities having the confidence to say no' to uninvited salespeople and to warn rogue traders and cold-callers that they are not welcome."

Local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators are keen to see the scheme extended to surrounding villages.

The three main criminal enterprises are targeted by the No Cold Calling Zones are:

* Dodgy property repairs or gardening maintenance - the trader will convince the occupant of the house that repairs are needed, usually for something that is difficult to check.

These jobs often don't need doing, and they charge the occupant extortionate amounts of money to carry out the work.

* Distraction burglary - where one "trader" will keep the occupant talking, while another often unnoticed accomplice scours the house for valuables and money.

* Obtaining property by deception - the "trader" will deceive the victim into handing over money in return for the provision of property or services which they never intend to provide.