The St Andrews Men’s Shed came to the rescue of a local resident last week who had been scammed out of cash.
The group were contacted by the granddaughter of an elderly Strathkinness resident, who had been left shocked, devastated and substantially out of pocket by unscrupulous conmen.
We have agreed not to print the surname of the lady in question. Mary had been approached by a man looking for odd jobs in the area.She agreed to pay the man to clear out and remove her late husbands shed and dispose of it’s waste contents.
He also agreed to tidy up the area and fix the shed groundwork which had partly collapsed.
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With a large sum paid up front, the man brought in several other people, removed the shed and its valuable contents of electrical and garden tools which were not part of the agreed deal, and left the garden with all the rubbish strewn around, the groundwork untouched, and promptly disappeared never to be seen again.
So last week, a team of volunteers from St Andrews Men’s Shed went to Mary’s rescue, removed all the rubbish and scrap from the garden, lifted the old shed paving stones and relayed them, and did a general tidy up of the area to make it all a little safer for her.
A spokesman for the group said: “Mary has lived in the same house for decades and has always felt safe. The disgusting behaviour of one unsavoury individual has left her fearful, very embarrassed and out of pocket.
“Hopefully, the actions of the Men’s Shed volunteers will restore her faith in people, but it is a reminder to never just accept anyone into your home without checks and never handover cash until a service is complete.
“Always speak to a family member or friend before undertaking any financial arrangement with a third party.”
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “From bogus callers to rogue traders, doorstep criminals are cunning, creative, and often very convincing.
“Anyone can be fooled as these people are professional con artists. However, the over 60s are often specifically targeted.
“In this case it seems to have been a rogue trader. They usually cold-call, claiming to be workers offering to sell services, make repairs or carry out work on your house, garden or driveway. In reality they charge inflated prices for shoddy or unnecessary work.
“We do not recommend dealing with cold-callers for property maintenance and home repairs.
“Be on guard if someone turns up unexpectedly; keep doors locked and use ta nearby window when answering the door; fit a door chain or bar – use it and keep it on when talking to callers at the door; if you’re not sure, don’t answer the door, don’t feel embarrassed – genuine callers expect you to be careful and only let callers in if they have an appointment and you have confirmed they are genuine.”
More info at: www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/home-and-personal-property/secure-your-home.