Conmen charge pensioner £700 for 30 minutes of gardening

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Bogus workmen managed to con a vulnerable 83-year-old out of £300 for just 30 minutes of gardening work, police have confirmed.

The men tried to charge £700 for the work and made the pensioner get a taxi to the nearest cash machine.

When they returned the following day for the remaining £400, police were waiting for them at the Westbourne property and the ‘spooked’ pair ran off.

The man’s son, Jonathan Jones, said: “I just happened to go over and when dad said he had been charged £700 for tidying what is a tiny garden I was so angry and frustrated.

“It’s lucky he could only withdraw £300 to give them.”

Mr Jones phoned the police, who agreed to wait for the men when they returned the next day on May 4.

The amount the bogus gardeners tried to charge equated to just over £23 a minute for their services.

Mr Jones is joining Sussex Police in warning others to beware ‘cold callers’ offering gardening services.

Inspector Kris Ottery said: “If you want work done on your house or garden, it is always best to seek out a known, reputable tradesperson and not be pressurised by anyone who just happens to knock on your door.

“Don’t be fooled by any claim that they make that they have seen anything damaged or dangerous that needs urgent attention. You can always get a qualified person to look at it and they won’t undertake work that doesn’t need doing.”

Thankfully the man’s bank has refunded the £300 and CCTV has been installed.

Anyone with information about the men, who are thought to have been driving a silver pick-up truck, is asked to report online to https://sussex.police.uk/contact-us/response-to-appeal/ or call 101 quoting serial 1232 of 03/05.

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