BOGUS workmen conned an OAP out of £1500 by claiming his home was riddled with woodworm – using infested samples brought with them.
The 80-year-old victim, who is too embarrassed to be identified, was duped by three conmen who offered to carry out a free inspection of his loft on Monday.
They claimed his home, in Campbell Park Crescent, Colinton, was rife with the wood-munching beetle and showed him bits of diseased wood they said they had taken from his attic.
In reality, they had brought the wood with them and used it to fool the pensioner.
“They came prepared with rotten wood and samples of woodworm which they showed me,” he said. “That was the convincing thing. They came and said ‘we’re sorry, but look what we’ve found’.
“When I saw that, it persuaded me to do the silly thing and get the money out.
“They didn’t lay it on too thick but they did express concern about how woodworm spreads and that the house would eventually be ruined.
“I feel so foolish and humiliated for letting them do it, but they seemed so professional.”
It was only when they asked for more cash for supplies two hours later that the pensioner became suspicious and the men took off.
Police believe the same con artists immediately targeted a second address at Caiystane Terrace, Oxgangs, knocking on a woman’s door to say they had spotted a loose roof tile.
They examined the loft and quoted a repair bill of £900, demanding she withdraw cash from the bank straight away. But the men left empty handed when the elderly woman said she would call the police.Two of the men are described as white, 5ft 7ins, in their early 20s and the third as aged 40-50 and of squat build.
A police spokesman said: “Inquiries are being carried out and CCTV is being explored.”
Householders have been warned to be particularly vigilant over the festive period.
Following a number of attempts by callers, pretending to be from Scottish Water, to enter homes in Edinburgh the utility company issued a warning for people to be on their guard.