DETECTIVES have condemned a series of "sickening" crimes in York after conmen posing as builders have duped elderly victims out of thousands of pounds in cash.
North Yorkshire Police officers are urging pensioners in the city to be on their guard and asked relatives to remain vigilant to help prevent more offences.
Crime prevention leaflets are being distributed to homes in the Tang Hall and Clifton districts of York after a series of residents aged in their 70s fell victim to the bogus callers.
Det Sgt Alan Rowan, of York CID, said: "Incidents where offenders are tricking elderly people into giving them money under false pretences are truly sickening crimes which often have a lasting impact on the victims.
"The individuals who commit this type of offence are devious and cowardly and we will be working with residents and local partners to ensure that people know how to guard against bogus callers."
Police officers are investigating three offences which happened within the space of five days in Tang Hall and Clifton.
A woman aged 74 handed over several hundred pounds after she was conned by two men who claimed her nephew had asked them to carry out work on her home's roof. But after she handed over the money on Friday last week the two offenders never returned.
The men, aged in their 40s, were with a woman with a young child in a vehicle they used to give the victim a lift back to her Clifton home.
A second offence happened at about 12.45pm on Tuesday when a 74-year-old man was conned out of several hundred pounds by a caller who claimed he was fixing guttering on the pensioner's Tang Hall home. The offender is white, aged in his 40s and was wearing a blue anorak.
Only 20 minutes later, a couple also aged in their 70s were duped out of a "large sum of money", according to police, by a caller posing as a council official.
The conman said he was there to fix the couple's roof and if they paid the money up front, the council would reimburse them the next week. He is white, in his mid-20s, chubby and was wearing a navy blue coat with a ripped pocket. He was with another man, who was waiting in the car.