ELDERLY homeowners have been warned to be on their guard for cold calls after one resident was charged £4,000 for a 'free' alarm.

Epping Forest District Council has been contacted by several residents claiming to have received telephone calls from a burglar alarm installation company offering to fit free systems.

The caller claims to be working in partnership with the authority or with Essex Police to combat an increase in crime.

The council has received one complaint from a customer who agreed to the free installation - but was charged £4,000 for fitting and monitoring costs.

Homeowners are advised not to buy anything from a cold caller over the telephone or at the door or to arrange a visit.

  • Anyone concerned about security who wishes to fit an alarm can contact the council's safer communities officer Paul Gardener on 01992 564 608 or police crime reduction officer Tony Ellis on 101.