Chichester man, 76, conned out of £45,000 by rogue trader

Police stock image
Police stock image

A 76-year-old Chichester man has been conned out of £45,000 after a rogue trader offered to carry out work at his home.

The man was approached in July by a visitor who suggested that work was needed on his house. The visitor left a fly with a mobile number and email but no landline of address.

Police said the elderly resident handed over a total of £45,000 for works including tree and hedge trimming and works to the interior and exterior to the man's home.

The conman started the work but stopped and has not continued. He also said that a further £25,000 would be need but currently cannot be contacted.

Police are investigating and anyone who has been approached for such work should contact the police online or by calling 101, quoting serial 0500 of 05/08.

PC Bernadette Lawrie, BEM, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer at Sussex Police. said; "We urge residents to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious to us. It’s also important to remember to challenge any unknown callers for ID.

"Not sure? Don’t open the door!

"Never have work done by anyone who cold calls. No reputable trader ever approaches a customer in this way.

"If visitors are present and you feel at all unsafe dial 999 at once. Otherwise report online or ring 101 quoting Operation Signature."

This type of crime across Sussex, together with other cold callers saying they are variously from the water companies or drain clearance companies gaining access and gaining cash, has increased.

There were 67 similar reports in July, compared with 31 reports in June, 32 in May and 29 in April.38 of the July reports were in West Sussex, 12 in East Sussex and 17 in Brighton and Hove.

So far in 2019 there have been 261 such reports altogether and in 153 of the cases residents lost money, totalling £600,629.

154 of the 2019 reports were in West Sussex, 58 in East Sussex and 49 in Brighton and Hove.

The average age of victims was 80 years, with the oldest being 97.

For advice on how to protect your home, see the Sussex Police website.