CHILDREN as young as eight have been trying to con Winsford residents out of money which has been earmarked to help war heroes.
Two youngsters have been canvassing the Over estate, selling poppies.
The children, a girl aged about 10 and a boy about eight years old, have an official poppy tray, but have not been authorised to sell poppies and are believed to be pocketing the money, which is raised to benefit war veterans.
Resident Elizabeth Blakeley challenged the youngsters after they approached her home.
She said: 'Two children knocked on my door asking me for money for a poppy.
They had a proper poppy tray, but didn't have a collection box. 'They said the school had sent them, but I contacted the schools in the area and they knew nothing about it. Schools would not be encouraging children to knock on strangers' doors anyway.
'They have probably stolen a poppy tray from somewhere and that is money which will not go to the Poppy Appeal this year.
'As well as conning people out of money that should be going to a good cause, they are putting themselves in danger by knocking on doors.
'I think someone has put them up to this, either an adult or an older child, because they were very young.'
A spokesman for the British Legion, which organises the annual Poppy Appeal, said: 'We have official poppy sellers and we would never authorise children to sell poppies.
'We will be tightening up security around the centre where the poppy trays are distributed.
'This is disgraceful and we would ask anyone who is canvassed by these children, or by anyone who has not been authorised to sell poppies, to contact the police.'