Rogue traders dupe dementia sufferer

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The daughter of an elderly woman with dementia from Sussex is furious after rogue traders duped her mother.

Kathryn Manlow’s mother was conned of £250 by two men who took advantage of her vulnerability.

The men offered tree and landscape services and, not knowing any better, Mrs Manlow’s mother invited them in to fill a hole in her garden in Bexhill, East Sussex.

She then went to the doctor’s and when she returned, the men had trimmed her bushes and demanded payment.

The woman offered them her debit card and pin, as she had no cash, which they used to withdraw the maximum amount from her account and dropped the card back.

“The awful thing is that the police and Trading Standards can’t do anything about it because they didn’t give my mum an invoice,” Mrs Manlow said.

“They are annoyed and want to speak to them and give them a warning but they can’t be prosecuted.

“I can’t believe that anyone would be so cruel to a little old lady.

“But they know the loopholes – it’s utterly disgusting.”

The traders left a business card with two phone numbers on, but the landline does not work and Mrs Manlow believes it is fake.

“They are working from a sign written van and are posting professional looking cards,” she said.

“The phone number on the cards is not a genuine local number but one obtained on the Internet so they are not necessarily local.”

When she tried the mobile, she got through to a man who confirmed what happened but claimed it was all legitimate and only took out £180.

Mrs Manlow knows this is a lie as the bank statement proves it was £250.

She hopes that by telling her mother’s story, she can raise awareness of these rogue traders and warn other vulnerable people about them.

“I would like this to be made as public as possible as a warning to try and stop this happening to other vulnerable or elderly people,” she said.

“You need to keep your eyes on elderly relatives as that is who they go for.”

Mrs Manlow’s sister was actually with her mother at the time but unfortunately paid no notice of the traders or their van.

If you have any information or witnessed the incident contact police by calling 101 or email 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk.

Alternatively you can call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Police have been contacted for comment.

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