Pensioner’s anger at £700 gardening scam

Scammers who ripped off a pensioner in the borough for hundreds of pounds after offering to do work on his garden have been slammed.

Thursday, 21st March 2019, 1:50 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 2:58 pm
Police probe

The family of Donald Stephenson, from Lowton, spoke out angrily after the 83-year-old was fleeced of £700 by two unscrupulous individuals posing as a gardener.

The pair offered to do some work at his Dalesford Close house and after doing a few tasks requested cash to buy materials.

They promptly disappeared without leaving a way to be contacted, leaving Mr Stephenson embarrassed and his relatives furious.

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Conservative elected representative for Lowton East ward Coun James Grundy has also expressed his concern about the brazen rip-off incident on Monday March 11 and has contacted neighbourhood police officers.

Mr Stephenson’s grandson Andy Hughes, 29, said: “I would have advised him not to pay anything before the job was done but older people are sometimes more trusting.

“He said he would clear out the entire garden and then put some turf down. He promised all this stuff, did half a day’s work and then left with a lot of money.

“He gave my grandad a business card and then asked to have a look at it to show him what other services they did and didn’t give it back. That makes me think this was done deliberately so he couldn’t contact him.

“He also gave him a receipt for the work he had done, even though it was next to nothing. There are no details on it.

“My grandad didn’t want to get the police involved and I think wants to sweep it under the carpet, but my mum and dad and I want to make more of a big deal about it.

“It is quite a bad thing that has happened and it is worrying that they might do this on a regular basis, especially to older people.”

It is thought the two people responsible originally knocked on the door of the house near the Poplars estate looking for work.

Andy has now shared details of the incident on a community social media group to warn other Lowton residents.

He said the two scammers drove a small flatbed truck, possibly an Iveco model, with wooden sides and mesh netting covering it.

The authorities have also been alerted as local politician Coun Grundy heard about the incident and felt the need to take it further.

Coun Grundy said: “I have been speaking to the local policing team about this and they have updated their records and will be getting the word out.

“It’s very upsetting to hear we have had some rogue traders about in the village. I ask that everybody passes the message on to elderly or vulnerable residents to make them aware in case they come into contact with these individuals or anyone like them.

“I also urge them to report it to the police. Even if you feel you wouldn’t want anything to come back from it it is very important to inform them to prevent anyone else being taken advantage of in this way.”

The incident drew a huge response on social media with Lowton residents expressing shock and anger at the callous offence and urging people to remember the importance of reporting incidents.