CONMEN prey on everybody, from hard-up householders in terrace homes in Burnley to rich owners of plush homes in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire County Council has warned.

The authority’s deputy leader Albert Atkinson spoke out as he revealed figures for potential losses to fraudsters in each borough in the east of the county.

The move is part of a pre-Christmas campaign to warn people against the lure of easy cash and prizes that can cost thousands.

Coun Atkinson said government statistics showed more than 40,000 people in East Lancashire faced losing a potential £37million if fraudsters got their way.

As part of the countywide ‘Scamnesty’ campaign, aimed at alerting residents to the sophisticated ways of modern conmen, he revealed that: In Ribble Valley, 4,000 people could lose an estimated total of £3million; in Pendle, 6,000 an estimated £5million; in Burnley, 5,000 a potential £4million; in Rossendale, 4,000 individuals £3 million; in Hyndburn, 5,000 an estimated £4million; in Chorley, 7,000 people could lose £6million; and in Blackburn with Darwen, a potential 10,000 people losing a possible £8million.

He also announced the anti-fraud team will be bringing experts, and a ‘Think Jessica’ stage show, to the Ballroom, in Accrington Town Hall, at 10.15am on Friday, November 30.

Lancashire Trading Standards and police will perform the theatre show depicting how scammers work.

Coun Atkinson said: “These scammers are ruthless. They don’t care how much you do, or do not, have. If you think you might be scammed, drop off the details to trading standards at local collection points so we can trace them and put them where they belong.”

Chief investigator Lee Ormandy said: “We make our calculation using national data from the government’s Office of Fair Trading. It is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the number of people approached by fraudsters, but the information we receive from residents validates these figures.”