Group set up to help watch out for conmen

Peter Wallis with his dad Peter, who was targeted by conmen
Peter Wallis with his dad Peter, who was targeted by conmen
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WHEN Peter Wallis heard that his elderly father had nearly been conned out of cash in his own home, he was so enraged he decided to do something about it.

So he set up a Facebook page called the Gosport Protection Squad and is calling on people to join to keep an eye out for unwanted cold callers.

Mr Wallis’ father, also called Peter Wallis, said he had felt obliged to go along with two workmen who turned up at his Gosport home and said tiles on his roof needed replacing.

The 77-year-old, a Royal Navy veteran, lives at home with his wife Patricia, 81, who suffers from dementia.

He said: ‘I’m almost too ashamed to say but I’ve been taken in. He knocked at the door and pointed out a missing flashing on the roof, which I wasn’t aware of.

‘I agreed with him to fix it for £140 after feeling under pressure to agree for the work to be done to get rid of them.

‘When I came out, the man said that he’d completed the work.

‘I explained that my daughter controls my money and he would have to come back for payment.’

When Mr Wallis spoke to his daughter to get the cash, she alerted her brothers Peter and Chris, who went to their dad’s house to inspect the work.

They were unhappy and when one of the builders came to collect payment, they confronted him before he left in a van.

Chris said: ‘We sent him away with a flea in his ear. The police have collected all the information. I’m absolutely enraged that criminals can prey on old people in this way.’

Now Peter has set up the Facebook group to gather like-minded people together so they can keep a look out for cold callers and report them to the police. He wants people to keep a closer eye on the more vulnerable members of the community.

A spokesman from Hampshire Constabulary confirmed that they were investigating the incident. They said: ‘Two men called at the address of a 77-year-old man in Brockhurst Road on May 4 and offered to carry out work on the roof.

‘The men stated the work had been carried out and would return the next day to collect the money.

‘In between time, it was questioned whether the work needed doing and no money was exchanged.

‘Police would like to hear from anyone in the area who may be able to assist with their enquiries.

‘Anyone with information can contact Hampshire Constabulary on 101 quoting reference 44150151237.’

A spokesman from Hampshire County Council said: ‘If you have been affected in this way or are concerned about a doorstep caller, call Trading Standards on 01962 833 666.’

For more information search Gosport Protection Squad on Facebook.