Police appeal as bogus builders scam £4,600 from elderly Muswell Hill, London, victim.
An elderly woman who was duped into handing over £4,600 in cash to two bogus builders has spoken out in a bid to help police track them down.
The 84-year-old, from the Fortis Green area of Muswell Hill, was taken in by the men who claimed they were builders working nearby who needed access to her home to tackle a water leak in her roof.
Police believe the conmen lifted some tiles and poured water through the hole and down an internal wall to make the woman believe the work was urgent.
They demanded cash to fix the problem, refusing to accept a cheque for the four-figure deposit offered by the woman to pay for drying equipment.
Believing the situation was an emergency, the woman went straight out to get the cash, only later discovering that she had been duped.
She said: “The older man was very plausible. I know I should have been suspicious, but he gave me several reasons to believe his story. He kept promising that the deposit would be returned on completion of the work and making appointments to return it, until I found out the truth.”
The bogus builders had knocked on her door at 12.30pm on July 18. Just an hour earlier the same pair are believed to have tried to dupe a 90-year-old man a couple of miles away in Barnet.
Despite telling him urgent work was needed on his roof, the man challenged them and checked with a neighbour to find that no work was being done next door. The men left without taking any money.
Officers are linking the two incidents and appealing for anyone else who may have been approached by the men to contact them. The suspects are both described as white men, one aged in his 50s,the other in his 30s. It is believed they drive a small white box panel van with a ladder on the roof.
Det Con Jo Ravenhill of Haringey CID said: “I am determined to do all I can to catch these unscrupulous offenders who are targeting vulnerable residents in our community.
“If you need work doing, go on recommendation, seek quotes, pay by traceable means, such as cheque or bank transfer. Don’t let anyone intimidate you into taking them on for work at the door there and then, you just don’t know who you’re letting into your home.
“Don’t answer the door to anyone without an appointment and if you are concerned about the person at your door, call police on 999.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact Det Con Ravenhill of Haringey CID on 020 8345 0838, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.