Rogue trader cheats Portsmouth pensioner out of £3,550

Katherine Salter, who was swindled by a rogue trader    Picture: Habibur Rahman
Katherine Salter, who was swindled by a rogue trader Picture: Habibur Rahman
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THE victim of a rogue trader has told how she felt pressured into handing over more than £3,500.

Pensioner Katherine Salter has spoken out in a bid to warn others of the dangers of being duped.

I feel like a damn fool

Katherine Salter

The 66-year-old said her husband was seriously unwell, so she was not thinking straight.

A man had come to her door in Fratton Road, Portsmouth asking if she wanted the gutters on her home cleared of leaves.

But he then said the whole guttering needed to be repaired as the roof was about to come crashing down.

Mrs Salter agreed to the work and transferred £3,550 via online banking.

The man, who was with two others and all had Irish accents, stayed for up to three hours – before vanishing and then called Mrs Salter asking for cash for a cherrypicker.

Mrs Salter said: ‘Usually I’m very aware of people trying to scam me.

‘But he fooled me, so I thought if I can warn everybody else about him...

‘As far as I’m aware he was coming down Fratton Road asking if we wanted leaves removed from guttering. He said the whole thing was falling apart. I just went into a panic.

‘He pulled apart all of our guttering but that was it, he didn’t do anything else.’

Police are linking the crime to a January rogue trader incident in Bedhampton, although it is not thought to be the same person.

Mrs Salter added: ‘I could kick myself. I don’t know why, I just went along with it.

‘He was here for two or three hours.

‘When I think back on it, I should have known.’

Mrs Salter and her husband have a trusted friend who carries out work on their house, but he was unavailable.

She added: ‘The man said the leaves were dangerous for the house. He said if I didn’t fix it the whole roof could come down. I felt like a damn fool and I still do.’

When the man asked for more cash for a cherrypicker in the February 18 incident, Mrs Salter realised it was a ruse and refused to hand over any more of her money.

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: ‘Our advice around cold callers is: Not sure? Don’t open the door.

‘It’s okay to say no and tell cold callers to leave. Always keep the chain on if you need to open the door. Never employ passing traders who cold call and never feel pressured to say yes.’

Call police on 101, quoting 44170065893.