NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Elgin widow pays thousands to cold-callers

Mary Brander Image copyright Not specified
Image caption Mary Brander paid £3,200 to have gravel laid on her garden

An 86-year-old Moray widow has told how she was forced to pay thousands of pounds to workmen who were cold-calling.

Mary Brander, of the Bishopmill area of Elgin, paid £3,200 to have her small front garden laid with gravel.

Moray Council said a local contractor had since confirmed the true value of the work was hundreds, not thousands.

Mrs Brander, who uses a walking frame and wheelchair, said: "I just wouldn't want it to happen to anybody else."

When the cost had risen to £4,000, Mrs Brander's daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Michael Chalmers, intervened as the men had suggested taking her to the bank to withdraw the money.

'Coming back'

Mrs Chalmers said: "We were not going to pay them £4,000 and we offered £2,500 but they would not accept that.

"In the end we gave them £3,200 because my mother lives alone and there was no way we could take the chance of them coming back once we had gone."

Moray Council's trading standards section is now working with Police Scotland to investigate the case.

Trading standards manager Peter Adamson said: "Our advice is never agree to having work done on the doorstep.

"People are in no position to check the price of the work and will find they are unable to contact the trader when anything goes wrong.

"In many cases, these traders try to take advantage of elderly and vulnerable people which is why we would ask relatives, friends and neighbours to be on their guard."

Ch Insp Willie Findlay, of Police Scotland, said: "Bogus workmen and rogue traders prey on the vulnerable in our communities and commit quite unscrupulous crimes."

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