Pensioner left feeling ashamed after con artists’ �4,600 sting

A pensioner who fell victim to a pair of con artists has spoken of how she was left feeling “stupid and ashamed” after handing over more than �4,000 in cash to the bogus callers.

Police are warning people against the scam in which conmen pose as handymen to steal thousands of pounds from elderly and vulnerable victims.

Officers have seen a spike in such crime in recent weeks, with the scheme spreading to Highgate, Crouch End and Muswell Hill.

On July 18 at 12.30pm an 85-year-old, who wished to remain anonymous, answered the door to two men telling her water was flooding into her home.

The conmen, who claimed to be carrying out work next door, had in fact damaged her roof and poured water into one of her back rooms.

The shocked and upset victim, who was living by herself, was told that urgent repairs were needed and the workmen would need �4,600 in cash as a deposit to get the right machinery.

In a panic the 85-year-old, from Fortis Green, handed over the cash.

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After speaking to her neighbours over the next couple of days she realised she had been tricked.

“I felt completely ashamed at how stupid I was to be taken in,” she said.

“But it was the sight of all that water streaming down the wall. I heard they have tried it on other people, but most of them had not been as stupid as me.”

The victim, who said her confidence had been rocked by the incident, received �440 from her insurers, but will never recover the full amount.

Det Con Jo Ravenhill, of Haringey CID, said: “These men are clearly continuing to target older residents with this scam. I urge you to be wary and to call police on 999 immediately if they come to your door with this story.

“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.”