Lothian and Borders Police are advising people in Edinburgh to stay vigilant after a number of reports of cold telephone callers selling alarm systems.

Recently, there have been a number of reported incidents of firms cold calling people and offering free alarm systems to householders.

The firms take a number of different approaches – sometimes there will be a call asking if the householder is involved in a neighbourhood watch scheme, if they have ever been broken into, and if they have an alarm; this is the end of the conversation. Another person then calls and arranges an appointment, and when they are out they will sometimes pressure people into buying an alarm.

In some cases they try and encourage people to take the system for free, but charge an inflated annual cost to monitor the system.

A police spokesperson said: ‘Lothian and Borders Police recommend that people only deal with companies that are NSI or SSAIB approved.

‘We offer advice on alarm standards and free general crime prevention advice.

‘If you have been affected by ‘pressure selling’ or the price of a product is not competitive, then consider reporting them to Trading Standards.

‘We would further advise anyone who has concerns over telephone calls relating to the sales of home security equipment to contact their local police station for advice’.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environmental Leader at the City of Edinburgh Council, said: ‘We would urge the public to remain vigilant as unfortunately, we know that there are still unscrupulous characters out there who target vulnerable people with high pressure selling on their own doorstep.

“This is unacceptable and the Council will be working closely with the Police to deal with these bogus callers.’