Romford residents warned after elderly couple scammed out of £1,650 by rogue tree surgeons

PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 October 2017

An elderly couple were scammed out of £1,650 by rogue tree surgeons in Romford. Photo: PA

An elderly couple were scammed out of £1,650 by rogue tree surgeons in Romford. Photo: PA

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Havering Council has issued a warning to residents after an elderly Romford couple were conned out of more than £1,600 by rogue tree surgeons.

The couple, who are 71 and 63 years old, were cold called by scammers who initially quoted them £49 to cut back bushes at the front of their house, this was increased to £300 each for both the back and front gardens.

They were then charged an extra £400 for a skip, which was never delivered.

The elderly pair were driven to multiple cash points to withdraw £1,650 using all of their debit and credit cards, and the incident only came to light when staff at Santander’s South Street branch became concerned by the couple’s request for an emergency overdraft.

As the manager and staff had been trained by Trading Standards Banking Protocol scheme, they gently questioned the customer before contacting the Metropolitan Police and Havering’s Trading Standards team.

When Trading Standards officers and police visited the couple’s home and heard their story, they confirmed the incident was a crime and began providing the necessary support.

Santander has offered the elderly couple a temporarily extended overdraft, while Age UK has assigned a case worker to try and help refund their money through a charitable grant.

An Age UK spokesperson said: “There’s no shame or embarrassment in falling victim to a scam – it happens to lots of people. If you report it, it may help to prevent others from experiencing the same thing.

“You can report it to Action Fraud – they may be able to track down the fraudster. You can also contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service for advice.”

A Havering Council spokesman said the scam may have gone unnoticed if it weren’t for the borough’s banking protocol, which has helped London’s pensioners save more than £6million and the police make 14 arrests.

He said: “The Banking Protocol, which was developed in Havering in 2011 and adopted by the Metropolitan Police Service in October 2016, helps people who are being ripped-off by doorstep criminals.

“The protocol works by training bank staff to look out for unusual customer behaviour and to tactfully ask questions about the reason for the withdrawal.”

Related articles

Latest Romford News Stories

Yesterday, 12:00

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Benefit claimants are facing New Year hell as Universal Credit rolls out in our community. More than 20,000 people in my constituency of Rainham, South Hornchurch, Elm Park and Dagenham face, literally, being without any cash.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Scandalous Daisy, Countess of Warwick, made a brief visit to Romford, says Prof Ged Martin

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Canvey Island could be the new Catalonia

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Three weeks after police closed the investigation into the explosion at the Bridge Point flats in Hornchurch, saying “the exact cause of the fire cannot be ascertained” and no one would be held accountable, Swan Housing Association announces it was caused by a gas canister.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Think you know what is going on in your area?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Friday, October 20, 2017

There will be no TfL Rail services this weekend as engineers continue carrying out track and station improvement works to prepare the line for Crossrail.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

News from your area


Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now