ELDERLY residents are being warned to be on their guard after suspicious scam builders were found to be operating in East Lancashire.

Police are urging people to turn away doorstep sellers after a Darwen pensioner was conned out of cash on Friday.


Officers said the 77-year-old woman and her husband were at home in Knowsley Road when a builder knocked on their door asking to do work on their house.

The pensioner agreed to the work and then went out, on her return the man presented her with a list of jobs he had supposedly done, and asked her £460.

The victim said she paid him £100 in cash and went to the bank to get the rest of the money, as he did not accept card or cheque payments.

But when she returned, the builder demanded an extra £1,000 on top of the bill.

The pensioner refused to hand over more cash and when she threatened to call the police, he ran off without leaving a receipt or the list of jobs he had shown to her. The pensioner and her 80-year-old husband reported the matter to police, and they are now warning others to beware of accepting the word of doorstep workmen.

The victim said: “I am absolutely furious about what has happened and I wish to inform others so that the same thing does not happen to them.

“I wish I had shut the door in his face.”

Officers are now appealing for anyone with information about the workman to contact them and for elderly residents to refuse help from uninvited workmen.

Whitehall PC Phil Hambley said: “We are investigating the matter, but we have very little to go on other than a white van.

“We did house-to-house enquiries, and we did some CCTV enquiries but unfortunately the van hasn’t been picked up.

“I would ask anybody who does have information to contact me on 01254 222135, and I would ask anyone else who has been a victim to come forward.”

People are advised to use chain and spy holes or look out of the window to see if they recognise callers.

Also, they should ask callers for proof of identity.

Genuine tradesmen should carry an identification card with their photograph on.

If you are unsure, telephone the company the caller claims to represent.