An elerdly woman has told of how she became the victim of an elaborate con by rogue traders who used her bank details to steal hundreds of pounds.

The retired 81-year-old, who will remain anonymous, was riding to her home in Orchard Grove, Leigh, on her mobility scooter on Thursday morning when she noticed a group of men.

She became aware that three men had followed her up her drive where she was putting her mobility scooter in her garage.

She said: “I was putting my mobility scooter away and one of them followed me into my garage.

“He claimed he was some kind of contractor from the water board but then started looking at my garden and offered to cut things down for me.

“He said it would cost £140 which I would have been willing to pay but I told him I had no money.

“He said it was ok because they take card and told me to go get it.”

As the woman went to get the card, the suspect followed her into the house. He told the woman to put her PIN number into his phone and he took a picture of the card.

She said: “He then told me to put the card somewhere safe and he left but I had a bad feeling so went back to check and the card had gone.”

The victim called her bank straight away who informed her that £500 had been withdrawn and that the suspects were actively trying to withdraw more money as they spoke.

The card was blocked and the bank agreed to reimburse the money into the woman’s account.

She added: “I know now I shouldn’t have done it but it was just very intimidating to have them follow me into my garden and then my house.

“He told me he was going to come back later so I was very worried I would have to deal with him again.”

The man did not return and the woman now wants to make other people in the community aware in case they try any other homes in the area.

She said: “It’s very worrying that this kind of thing goes on and I don’t want anyone else to be conned like I was. Luckily I realised before they were able to take more.”

The victim described the men as in their 30s to 40s and were white British. They were dressed normally in jeans and a t-shirt.

Essex Police have since confirmed they are investigating and are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch.

You can ring Essex Police on 101 quoting reference 42/50003/18.

You can also contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Essex Police also issued advice in how to protect yourself from rogue traders.

This includes not being frightened to ask for identification and always check it carefully. If you’re not sure, ask them to come back another day.

Don’t be pressured into letting someone into your home if you have suspicions.