Police are appealing for witnesses after three men charged an elderly Hartlepool householder thousands of pounds for unnecessary work to his house.
They went to the man’s home in Helmsley Street, in the Jesmond area of town, just before 2pm on Thursday, October 18, claiming to be carrying out roofing and guttering work.
Police say the men carried out unnecessary minor plastering to a chimney and quoted several thousands of pounds for the work.
The victim gave them a much smaller amount of cash, but they insisted he go and get the remainder of the money, saying they would return for the rest soon.
When they eventually returned to the elderly man's address he told them he had phoned police and they left in a white Transit-style van.
Two of the men are described as of large build and short in height aged in their 40s, and the other was slimmer and in his 20s. All had local accents.
Cleveland Police said: "We would like to hear from anyone who could help identify these men or who may have captured the van on domestic or business CCTV systems.
"We would also remind residents to be careful if they are contacted by people stating their property needs urgent work carrying out.
"Do not feel pressured to agree to work while cold callers are on the doorstep and use reputable companies."
Anyone with information is asked to contact DC Becky Alderson via the 101 number, quoting Event 192250.
Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers via its website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org or by phoning them on 0800 555111.