A roofing and building company have kindly offered to help an elderly man who was targeted by bogus callers.
During the incident, which occurred on Wednesday 11 January in the Hoole area of Chester, an elderly man was targeted by cold callers who claimed to be builders and told the man that his roof needed to be repaired.
The bogus builder then told the resident that he could do the repairs, but in order to do so he would need to be paid in advance. The resident handed over an initial deposit for the work, but was then asked to provide an additional £6,000, which had to be paid in cash.
The victim, who does not wish to be named, then went to his local bank to withdraw the money, but thankfully the alarm was raised by a member of staff and the money was not passed over to the cold caller.
Cheshire Constabulary released an appeal for information, and after finding out about the incident John Jennings of Two Jays Roofing offered to complete the roof repairs with his brother, son and other volunteers.
The owner of Hoole Building Supplies, Darren Roberts, also offered to provide the materials for the work free of charge.
Mr Jennings 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.
“Since then I’ve had loads of offers from other people who are willing to help with the work.
“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.”
Detective Constable Nicky Edgell added: “It’s so heart-warming to see the community coming together to help this elderly resident who was a victim of cold calling.
“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.”
There are a number of simple steps that residents can take to protect themselves their families, friends and neighbours, these include:
• Check the identity of callers by calling the company they claim to be from. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory, online or provided independently by your 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 you open the door to them.
• The "Waterboard" has not existed for 28 years; turn away anyone purporting to be from it.
• Keep cash in the bank where it is secure.
• Consider storing valuable jewellery in bank deposit box - contact your bank for details.
• Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times.
• Ensure that if you do let somebody in to your home, that you close the door behind them − distraction burglars often work in teams, while you′re distracted another person may sneak in through an open door.
• If somebody asks for your 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.
For more information and advice visit the Cheshire Police website: http://www.cheshire.police.uk.