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Good Neighbour warns of potential dangers after elderly man conned

Good neighbour Terry Bickell. Good neighbour Terry Bickell.

Friday, December 13, 2013
6:00 PM

A good neighbour from Hornchurch has warned elderly residents after the 85-year-old man he helps was conned into buying a carpet from a woman in the street.

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Terry Bickell (pictured) is upset after his 85-year-old neighbour was victim of a scam involving this carpet.Terry Bickell (pictured) is upset after his 85-year-old neighbour was victim of a scam involving this carpet.

Terry Bickell, 73, of Albany Road in Hornchurch has known the victim, who has asked not to be named, for more than 20 years, and often runs errands for him.

But one morning last week when he came to pick up his morning paper from Terry’s house as part of his daily routine, something was clearly wrong.

Terry expained: “I opened the door and could see that he looked quite distressed. I asked him if he was okay and he said ‘I think I’ve just been conned.’”

He explained to Terry that a woman had driven alongside him and told him there was a ‘special deal’ on carpets for pensioners.

Be a Good Neighbour

We’d love to hear about how you have brightened up someone’s day on your street or the close ties ­between neighbours which come to the fore at Christmas.

Send your stories, along with photographs and contact details, to sam.gelder@archant.co.uk or call 020 8477 3810.

“For whatever reason he then got into her and she drove back to his bungalow where she showed him a runner for his hallway which she said he could have for £140,” explained Terry.

As he only had £100 in cash, the woman agreed to sell it for that sum.

Terry believes the carpet was worth about £30.

“I want to warn any vulnerable people out there to be aware and not buy from anyone in the street or on the doorstep regardless of how nice they appear to be,” he said.

He contacted the police, who said they would be posting leaflets in the area to warn people of the potential dangers.

Terry added: “It’s important to look out for each other. With today’s lifestyle, people don’t even know their next door neighbour’s name. Years ago everybody knew everybody.”

The victim spoke to the Recorder and thanked Terry for being a “good friend.”

He said: “He helps me if out if I’m in trouble. I have got no living relatives so he is very important to me – I have good neighbours around here, I’m very grateful for what they do.”

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