Barking residents told to beware of doorstep con artists

�Barking residents are being warned to be beware of two men who co-erced a vulnerable man into paying �1,750 to have his garden cleared.

Trading Standards said they followed their victim back to his home in Abbey ward, Barking on May 1.

They approached the man – who has learning difficulties – on his doorstep and tried to convince him that they had previously carried out work on his house.

He told them to leave but they returned later and offered to clean his front garden for �5. The victim later agreed to have his back garden cleared by the men.

They returned on May 4 with two workers, not believed to be involved in the scam, who set to work clearing the back garden.

Later the two rogue traders coerced their victim into believing that he owed them �1,750 for the works.

He went to the bank, withdrew the cash, and paid them off.

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The first man is described as white, aged around 30, well built, around 5ft 8in and had dark hair.

His accomplice was also white, slim, around 5ft 10in, with light hair and spoke with a slight Irish accent.

They drove a small white transit-type van.

Borough Commander Matt Bell said: “I would urge any member of the public who knows or cares for a vulnerable person to make them aware that they must not be trusting of the stranger at the door.

“If you doubt that a caller is genuine please close the door and dial 999 immediately.

“The quicker you call us, the more chance we have of catching them.

“I would rather my officers attended a dozen false alarms than miss the opportunity to prevent someone from becoming a victim.”

Call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 with information.