Two Chester business owners have come to the rescue of an elderly man after he was duped by bogus builders.
The gent from Hoole, who asked not to be named, received a visit in January from a man offering to repair his roof.
Taken in by his banter, the elderly man agreed to hand over £6,000 for the work - which the caller asked for in cash.
Luckily his bank halted the withdrawal and raised an alarm with the police who then issued an appeal for information.
Hearing about the scam John Jennings of Two Jays Roofing in Upton generously offered to complete the roof repairs for free.
John said: “A police officer who I know told me what had happened and asked me to go around and have a look at the work that needed doing for this elderly gentleman.
“After hearing what had happened I didn’t have the heart to charge him and was more than happy to offer to do the repair work free of charge.”
He said that since then he has had several more offers from people willing to assist with the roofing work.
Darren Roberts, owner of Hoole Building Supplies, also offered to provide the materials for the work free of charge.
“It’s such a heartless thing that has happened and I want to get the message across that people need to be wary of cold callers,” John said.
Detective Constable Nicky Edgell said it was ‘heart-warming’ to see the community come together to help the elderly resident.
“I would like to thank John Jennings and Darren Roberts for offering to provide the materials and do the repair work free of charge following our appeal.
“I would also like to remind all residents about the importance of people not letting anyone into their home who calls unexpectedly and if you have a chain, always use it.
“Make sure you ask for identification and if they provide it, close the door and check the number, but most importantly, if you have any doubts about them being genuine, don’t let them in and ask them to come back later when you are not alone.
“Any suspicious activity should be reported to police.”
The police offer a number of simple steps that residents can take to protect themselves, their families, friends and neighbours:
- Check the identity of callers by calling the company they claim to be from. Use the telephone numbers listed in the local directory, online or provided independently by the service provider. Do not use any telephone numbers provided by the caller - they may be bogus.
- Telephone a neighbour or friend nearby to come along and check out the caller before opening the door to them.
- The ‘Waterboard’ has not existed for 28 years. Turn away anyone claiming to be from it.
- Keep cash in the bank where it is secure.
- Consider storing valuable jewellery in a bank deposit box - contact the bank for details.
- Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times.
- Ensure that if allowing somebody into your home, close the door behind them.
- If somebody asks for help, needs to make a telephone call, needs a drink or wants directions, don’t feel pressurised into letting them in. Help through a closed door, refer them to a younger neighbour or call to ask someone to assist.
- Not sure? Don’t open the door.
Residents are advised to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to Cheshire Police on 101.
Information can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.