POLICE have warned residents to be vigilant after pensioner was conned out of a ‘large quantity of cash’ by a rogue trader.

The elderly woman, who lives in the Heath area of Runcorn, received a leaflet through her door advertising services including tree and hedge cutting.

She later handed over a large cash deposit for landscaping work in her back garden to a man claiming to be a company employee.

He cut back a bush in her back garden and cleared some rubbished before leaving on the promise that he would return with colleagues three days later.

But on Saturday, February 8, the victim received a phone call stating that the work would cost ‘considerably more money’ to complete.

She then paid a ‘large sum’ by a bank transfer, but has not heard anything from the company since.

Inspector Fez Khan said: “Unfortunately incidents such as this are becoming increasingly common, with rogue traders targeting vulnerable people and trying to get as much money from them as possible.

“Rogue traders often appear to be highly professional – they can have printed leaflets and vehicles branded with their company name, making people think they are legitimate.

“They often use highly pressurised selling techniques to convince victims to use their services and charge exorbitant prices for work of a poor standard, or work that is never carried out.

“Enquiries in relation to the case in Runcorn are ongoing in a bid to identify who took the victim’s money and have it returned to her, and I want to take this opportunity to urge people living in Runcorn or anywhere else in Cheshire to be vigilant and to contact the police if they believe that a rogue trader is taking advantage of them or someone they know.

“Call us on 101, and also give the details to the trading standards department at your local council.

“I ask people to look out for any elderly or vulnerable neighbours by checking on their welfare and reporting any suspicious activity to the police – I also encourage people to follow our advice on how to avoid falling victim to a rogue trader.”