A COUPLE in their eighties have been tricked out of more than £500 by fraudsters posing as fence repair men.

The two men called at the couple’s home in Rayleigh Road, Thundersley, offering to replace fence panels blown down in the recent high winds.

After asking for £540 in cash up front, the two men drove away with the damaged panels in a tipper truck and did not return.

The incident happened about 3.30pm on January 3, but was not reported until January 9, while the couple waited in vain for new fence panels to arrive.

One of the men was described as being white, in his fifties and wearing a dark green jumper with a pattern on the chest. The only description of the second man was that he was thought to be in his twenties and had dyed red hair.

The victims, who asked not to be named, said they told the men they usually use a local repairman but when the men said they knew him, they decided to go ahead.

The man said: “One of them started on the work to remove the broken fence parts, while an older man came indoors and started filling in paperwork for the new parts. He kept on saying how well he knew the local fencing man.

“He then gave me a price and asked for £540 to cover the cost of materials. I was a little suspicious but since they claimed to work for the local man I gave them the cash.

“We realised it was a trick when, after six days, I checked with the local man who said he did not know the men at all. That’s when we went to the police. We are really upset at losing all that money and hope other people won’t get caught in the same way.”

Investigating officer, Det Con Karen Miller, said: “This was a despicable trick by fraudsters who took advantage of a trusting elderly couple who thought they would be getting their broken fences fixed quickly.

“We now want to warn other people about these thieves and also talk to any witnesses or anyone who knows who they are.”

Anyone with information should contact Det Con Miller at Southend CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.