PEOPLE in North Yorkshire are being urged to back a campaign to slam the door on doorstep sales.

The move follows a survey of more than 2,000 households across North Yorkshire where people were asked their views and experiences about "cold calling". The survey supports a national initiative by the Trading Standards Institute.

It has published a report today advocating that salespeople who call unannounced at homes should be banned from doing so.

Almost 98 per cent of those surveyed in North Yorkshire said they did not want people cold calling at their homes, and ten per cent had had a bad experience with doorstep sellers over the past two years.

Coun John Dennis, the county council's executive member with responsibility for trading standards, said: "If these results are an indicator of the general population then 24,000 households in North Yorkshire have had bad experiences with one or more cold calling doorstep sellers.

"The survey would indicate that 12,000 have had problems with energy salespeople and more than 8,000 have had bad experiences with double glazing and similar callers." Stuart Pudney, North Yorkshire's head of trading standards and regulatory services, said: "Our survey shows that people are not only irritated by cold calling, there are times when they are handing over significant amounts of money to unscrupulous criminals passing themselves off as roofers, gardeners and property improvement businesses.

"They often leave distressed, bewildered and frightened people with little or no chance of redress. With the rising aged population and increased home ownership this is an area long overdue for strict legal control.

"The public, honest businesses and enforcement authorities are unanimous in their view that it is time to take firm action and ban the cold calling of property repairs, maintenance and improvements."

Another disturbing issue revealed by the North Yorkshire survey was that only a small number of people ever asked doorstep salesmen for any form of identification, and an even smaller number checked it.

Mr Pudney added: "There is clearly a basic security issue which needs to be tackled. A survey showed that of those who admitted having had bad experiences with salespeople only 14 per cent reported it."

Updated: 15:43 Wednesday, April 23, 2003