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Elderly woman pressured into buying tools she did not want 'at extortionate price'

Gardaí in Co Cork are investigating an incident where an elderly woman was "cold called" and pressured into buying tools she did not want.

Gardaí in Bantry say the incident involved suspects calling uninvited to the lady's home "and made her feel pressurised into paying an extortionate price for 12 chainsaws, 11 generators, seven power washer and assorted tools which she had no use for and did not want."

The gardaí say the woman, who lives alone, "handed over a substantial amount of money made up of several cheques" most of which have since been cancelled.

A picture of the tools via An Garda Síochána

The guards are appealing for anyone who may have been victim to a similiar crime to contact them and have asked people to make sure elderly family members and neighbours are aware of the incident.

Speaking at Anglesea Street Garda Station in Cork, Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Tony Davis said: "This is a heinous crime that was committed as it targets the more vulnerable members of our communities.

"If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours and see or hear about bogus traders doing the rounds, let them and ourselves know so we can put out additional patrols.

If you suspect that anyone who calls to your door selling goods or services is not who they say they are, tell them you are not interested and call the gardaí immediately.

Genuine trade’s people won’t be offended by any queries the gardaí may make.

"If you are answering the door to ‘cold callers’, apply the chain or door limiter before opening the door.

"I would also ask that if anyone feels like they, or someone they know, has been a victim of being sold goods for extortionate prices, or paid for a service that was not carried out, to call any garda station and report the matter."

Following the incident, the gardaí have released a statement offering crime prevention advice:

    If a person calls to your door offering you professional trade services or selling goods and you are worried they are not bona fide, tell the caller that you never employ trades people or buy goods from people who ‘cold call’ to your door.

    Ask for a brochure or documentation so you can carry out checks and verify their credibility. This should include a contact number and a V.A.T registered number.

    Be careful of documentation that only displays mobile contact numbers or incomplete addresses. If you are satisfied that the company or individual(s) are credible and you want to make a purchase, ask for an itemised written quotation for the exact goods/services being offered.

    Never rely on the accuracy of the information, always verify the information yourself. Always seek comparable estimates for services.

    Never engage a person who insists on a cash payment as it is untraceable. Neve leave strangers, even bona fide workers, unsupervised in your home.