UPDATE: Bogus builders dupe Portsmouth woman, 79, out of £1,000

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DETECTIVES have warned people to be vigilant after a 79-year-old woman reportedly lost £1,000 to rogue traders.

Police say men pair knocked on the pensioner’s door and asked for cash, telling her they had spotted a problem on her chimney and fixed it.

Detectives have revealed they believe it could be linked to other incidents in the area.

It happened on Friday when the men were cold-calling homes in Minstead Road, Cadnam Road and Gritanwood Road, in Eastney.

Detective Constable Emma Roberts said: ‘We would like people in these area to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to us.

‘If you have seen two men in the area knocking on doors, driving around in a red van, then please speak to us as your information may assist our investigation.

‘We would also like to hear from anyone who has been approached by these men recently or if you live in these areas and have CCTV outside your homes.’

She added: ‘As ever, our advice is to always ask for identification and check it thoroughly when traders call at your door – even if you are expecting them.

‘Genuine traders will not mind waiting outside while you look up their company in a phone directory and check they are a legitimate employee.

‘If you have an elderly friend or relative please ask them to be mindful of these incidents.

‘Remind them never to employ passing traders and to never pay any money up front.’

A Hampshire police spokeswoman said: ‘We would like to remind people that employing doorstep traders can lead to shoddy or incomplete work being carried out.

‘Residents may also be quoted a price for services, which is later grossly inflated when the work is done.’

Anyone with information is asked to call DC Roberts on 101, quoting 44170061881.

• Paul Eardley, 29, of Stuart Street, Thurnscoe, South Yorkshire, has been charged with fraud by false representation and he is due to appear at Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court.

Police advice

Lock: All doors, even when at home. Use a chain or spy hole

Stop: Unknown people from entering your home.

Tell: Police about unwanted or suspicious callers, phone us on 101.

And remember if you’re not sure, just don’t open the door.

• If you feel threatened call 999

• Deaf? Mini-com call users call 18001 101 or send a text to 07781 480999 • Want to stay anonymous? Call the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111

Further information and crime prevention advice can be found on the doorstep crime prevention page of the force’s website: