Conmen steal widow’s savings

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An 87-year-old widow today spoke of her distress after conmen stole her £16,000 life savings – by pretending to be from the water board.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, also had her late husband’s gold signet ring and other precious jewellery taken during the raid on her home in central Leyland.

It happened just after midday on Friday, when a man called at her home claiming to be doing work for her neighbour next-door-but-one.

The pensioner, a mum-of-one who lives on her own after losing her husband last year, said: “I went to the door and this man was there with a clipboard.

“He said he was doing work next-door-but-one as she was having a new kitchen, and he had run the water, but it was brown.

“He asked if I minded him having a look to see what mine was like.

“With him saying he was doing work next-door-but-one, I thought nothing of it.”

The thief then took the woman into her kitchen where he asked her to turn on the taps and pretended to inspect under her sink.

The widow was unaware of another intruder in her home at the time, who was rooting through her prized possessions.

She said: “He had me with my back to the living room door all the time. He asked if I would mind taking the things from under the sink so he could have a look under.

“He told me he had hurt his leg playing football and was having trouble getting down, so I was bending down with my torch and he was looking away. “Then he started telling me my wires were wrong. We started chatting and he asked how I managed in the kitchen with the cupboards being so high.

“I told him I have to use steps to get up and was scared of falling one day.

“So he said he would sort me out a new kitchen so I didn’t have to use the steps anymore.”

The conman then asked her to go with him outside to inspect the drain.

Telling her there was a bad smell and he could fix it by digging a sewer tunnel through her garden, the woman became suspicious and asked to see some identification.

He claimed he had left it at the home he had been working on and would return in 20 minutes.

She said: “I went round to my neighbour’s and there was no one there at all.

“I blame nobody but myself. You see all these warnings on the TV but you just don’t think about it happening to you.

“It was stupid. I thought I had more up top than that.”

She returned to her living room and saw nothing was out of place, but searched for her late husband’s ring and found £16,000 had been taken from her drawer, as well as other jewellery.

She said: “It was my savings and some money my husband left when he died.”

The man is described as being white, in his late 30s or early 40s, between 5ft 6in and 6ft, with a slim face and of a slim build. He had dark hair which was starting to grey, and he spoke with a local accent. He was wearing a dark blue shirt.

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Det Con Ian Mercer of South Ribble CID said: “If someone knocks on the door and you are not happy, ask for ID, close the door and call the company they say they are working for. If they are legitimate, they will understand.”

On hearing of her ordeal, Poppy’s flower shop in Hough Lane sent the elderly lady a bunch of flowers.