An elderly woman has been conned out of £7,000 by doorstep crooks who persuaded her that repair works needed to be carried out on her home.
Two men visited the woman’s house in Stancliffe Road, Bedford, on Friday, July 3 and coerced her into handing over money for materials.
Over the next three days, they revisited the victim and on each occasion demanded more money.
Despite appearing to climb ladders on to the roof, no work was carried out on the house.
The men are believed to have be driving a blue van and grey estate car, both with ladders on the roof.
One of them is described as white, aged around 60 and stocky and the other is white, around 30, wearing jeans, a T shirt and a tool belt.
Det Con David Adams said: “This was a despicable, cruel crime carried out against a vulnerable person, conning her out of a huge sum of money.
“We are urging anyone who has information that could help us find the individuals responsible to contact us immediately so that we can get justice for the victim and prevent them from carrying out any further crimes.
“We’d remind you to stay vigilant; never hand over personal details or money to unauthorised people or invite strangers into your house, and to call police on 101 if you notice anything suspicious.
“We’d also ask family members to speak to their elderly and vulnerable relatives to let them know about this important crime prevention advice and to be careful when answering the door to cold callers.”
Anyone with information can contact Det Con Adams on 101 or text 07786 200 011. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
Beds Police have issued the following crime prevention advice:
>Residents are advised to deter bogus callers by verifying the caller’s identification before fully opening the door. If you have a chain, keep this fastened when you go to the door.
>If in any doubt that the caller is not there for a legitimate purpose, such as a pre-arranged visit, do not let the person into your home.
>Handbags, wallets, cash and house or car keys are obvious targets, so don’t leave them in a prominent position or in view of windows.
>Look out for warning signs from unsolicited callers – do not give out cash to pay for work you haven’t agreed to in advance with a reputable company, and never share your bank details or PIN numbers.
>Remember, police or bank officials would never ask you for these details so if you suspect someone to be masquerading in these roles, call police.
>Call police on 101 to report a crime or suspicious activity. If you suspect you have been a victim of fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.