Rogue traders con elderly Harold Wood woman in roof repairs scam

Havering Police are warning vulnerable residents. Picture: John Stillwell/PA

Havering Police are warning vulnerable residents. Picture: John Stillwell/PA - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

An elderly woman was prevented from throwing thousands of pounds down the drain on unnecessary roofing repairs with the help of Havering’s banking protocol.

The woman from Harold Wood was contacted by cold-callers from a roofing company, who persuaded her to replace her guttering for just £80 before duping her into signing a contract agreeing to spend a further £7,800 to replace her roof.

Luckily, when she visited the bank to withdraw the large sum suspicious staff members stepped in and stopped the transaction.

Police were informed and visited her with Havering Council Trading Standards officers.

After the woman revealed what had happened the roofers were told to stop working and leave the premises.

Despite having started work the company will receive no payment because it has breached Trading Standards Regulations.

Acting Police Sergeant Charlie Routley, from Harold Wood Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “The quick thinking of the bank employee has saved this lady from a substantial financial loss.

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“This is a prime example of the banking protocol in action.

“We will continue to work closely with Trading Standards to combat this breach of trust.”

The banking protocol is the first multi-agency scheme of its kind and aims to train bank staff to detect suspicious actions that may be the result of a rogue trader.

It represents a new way of working between the council, banks, the Metropolitan Police, Age Concern and the Havering Community and Police Consultative Group.

Cllr Osman Dervish, cabinet member for regulatory services, said: “I am so pleased that the banking protocol has saved another resident from losing her hard earned cash.

“Residents are reminded that they should not sign contracts or agree to work being done with cold callers at their door.

“It’s always better to find a Buy With Confidence approved trader, even if the work seems urgent.”