Dagenham pensioner's warning after rogue roofers' £600 attempted scam
PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 July 2019
A pensioner has warned neighbours to beware after rogue roofers tried scamming him out of £600.
Two conmen knocked on Ralph Medcalfe's door in Valentines Way, Dagenham, on Tuesday saying they were doing building work nearby and had noticed he had a loose roof tile which they offered to fix for £30.
The pair climbed onto the roof after the 80-year-old agreed and began flinging tiles and concrete down.
By the time they had finished there were smashed tiles and concrete littering the ground outside the house.
One of the pair told Ralph he would go and fetch some replacements. After he returned the trickster demanded £600 for the finished job.
Ralph, who has lived in Valentines Way for 30 years without trouble from rogue traders before, paid them £80 for parts and labour.
They tried but failed to knock the retired warehouse man down from £600 to £400 adding their boss wouldn't be happy but after Ralph refused they said in a warning voice that they were "Irish gypsies".
"I think that was supposed to frighten me," Ralph said.
"I was daft to let them up there. I feel annoyed I fell for it. I should have known better. I've warned other people about this kind of thing before.
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"These people get away with it. Everyone should know about what these clowns are doing," Ralph said.
He described the pair as in their early 20s. Both wore T-shirts, jeans and high vis jackets. One has fair while the other had dark hair. They were using a white van and both spoke with Irish accents.
Since the con a trading standards officer has visited Ralph and luckily the scammers have not returned.
Safety alarms are being fitted.
Citizens Advice recommends people remain sceptical to avoid scams and to take their time before making a decision.
It also urges people to find out more about who you are dealing with by checking with friends, family and trusted organisations first.
Anyone who feels threatened by a cold caller should call the police.
For more information visit citizensadvice.org.uk
A spokesman for Barking and Dagenham Council said: "Residents that have any concerns about rogue traders can get advice and support by calling the Citizens Advice helpline on 03454 04 05 06."
For more information you can also visit the Citizens Advice website.