Conman knocking on doors in Hartlepool claiming to be fundraising for new church roof

(left to right) Stephen Harrison, Gillian Elliston and Adam Harrison outside of Grange Road Methodist Church
(left to right) Stephen Harrison, Gillian Elliston and Adam Harrison outside of Grange Road Methodist Church

POLICE are warning residents to be wary of a scam involving a man knocking on doors claiming to be fundraising for a new church roof.

Members at Grange Road Methodist Church, in the town, were shocked to be told the conman had been pestering local residents claiming he was raising cash to boost a fundraising drive for a new roof.

But the church is currently making no such effort to replace the roof and members say if they were raising cash they would organise events in the church and not knock on the doors of their nearby neighbours.

The members want to apologise to those who have been in contact with the man but assure residents it had nothing to do with the church. And police are now appealing for anyone with information about the conman to come forward.

The cruel conman is said to have approached houses in The Grove and Warwick Grove and claimed the church had organised a skydive which fell just short of reaching its fundraising target. The man told residents he was out collecting to try and make up the cash.

It’s thought that at least one homeowner in the area donated some money but fortunately the majority sent him on his way.

A spokeswoman for the church told the Mail: “I happened to be speaking to someone who asked about the fundraising for a new church roof, which I knew nothing about.

“We then found out that a man had been knocking on doors claiming he was representing the church and raising money for a new roof.

“We want people to know that the church has nothing to do with this whatsoever. If we were fundraising we would organising our own events, coffee mornings and the likes, to raise money. We would certainly not go around knocking on doors and pestering people for money.

“We’re just glad we’ve found out about what’s been going on and we made the police aware immediately.”

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “We are investigating. In the meantime, residents are advised not to hand over any money to anyone who comes knocking at their door claiming to be raising money for the church. We are assured the church holds its own formal events when trying to raise money.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact the police by calling 101.