POLICE officers have turned an area of the town into a no-go zone for 'Nottingham knockers'.

Malvern Safer Neighbourhood Team and the district council have erected signs around Churchdown Road, Malvern, in a bid to deter cold callers.

The crackdown on illegitimate door-to-door salesmen follows a spike in incidents over the past few weeks.

The authorities now want to warn the traders that they are no longer welcome in the area.

Sgt Alexander Denny said: "Nottingham knockers will come from different locations outside our community and be very persistent with their sales technique.

"There are particular streets in our local policing area affected. Predominantly elderly couples live there.

"In the last five or six weeks we have had occasions of cold callers attending. As residents are vulnerable they find it difficult to ask them to leave."

Sgt Denny added that officers have communicated with residents to let them know that they do not have to deal with cold callers.

He said: "It's clear to anyone that goes there, cold calling is not welcome.

"We want to make sure residents feel safe in their own homes and make the area hostile to those that seek to take advantage of vulnerable people in Malvern.

"Legitimate door-to-door salesmen know when they see the signs not to approach."

Inspector Deborah Sanders said three people have recently been summoned to court for not having the correct pedlar's certificate.

Malvern Safer Neighbourhood Team wants residents to ring the police on 101 if they encounter an illegitimate cold caller.

The police have offered the following tips to avoid falling prey to 'Nottingham knockers':

1. Do not let callers into your address or even answer the door to them, it is your property.

2. Use your spy hole or window pane and ask for identification. If in doubt contact police.

3. Do not be pressured into making any purchase, sellers should only ever take orders and not have items with them. If they do then they are not trading correctly. Tell these persons to leave, close the door and contact the Malvern police if they do not.

4. Make it clear that cold callers are not welcome, print off a sign or contact the police team for a door sticker which we can supply free of charge.

5. Install a door chain and only open the door slightly if you do decide to answer it.

6. Install a light that covers your doorstep so you can clearly see who is at your door.