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Great-grandad conned out of £3k by bogus roofer says: "I feel like a doddery old fool"

Online appeal for Derrick Hepworth brings him close to tears

A great-grandad conned out of £3,000 by a bogus roofer has spoken of his nightmare and said: “I feel like a doddery old fool.”

Sprightly Derrick Hepworth, 86, fell victim to a slick conman in his own home.

Dad-of-two Derek, of Cleckheaton, was having a new roof put on when a man knocked on his door.

The man claimed to be the “big boss” of the roofing firm and chatted to Derrick about the job, saying the bolts and battens were going on and all was going well.

Scaffolding at the house in Howard Park, Cleckheaton, targeted by a conman handed £3,000 by the unsuspecting householder.

Derrick invited him in and the man saw one of the genuine roofers throwing slates off the roof and said a skip would be needed.

The man then said he would need cash for the skip hire and Derek offered £1,000.

The man followed him to where he had kept the £3,000 cash to pay for the whole job and took all the money before disappearing.

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Retired HGV driver Derek, who has a grandchild, five step-grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, said he felt ashamed and embarrassed and added: “I am putting a brave face on but it’s very upsetting.”

Close to tears, he said: “You can’t explain how you feel. I can’t sleep and my head is bouncing, and I haven’t been out since.

“I feel like a doddery old fool. I’m not doddery but I am a silly old fool.”

Derrick and partner Marjorie, 74, had been saving the money for two-and-a-half years to go somewhere warm on holiday.

He has had to dig into his savings to pay roofer Phil Senior and admits the shock has hit him hard.

Phil, who runs P. Senior Roofing Contractors in Cleckheaton, feels guilty about accepting the money and his wife Carrie launched an online appeal to raise the £3,000 for Derrick.

Phil Senior

Phil Senior of P Senior Roofing Contractors of Cleckheaton

The appeal is approaching £1,000 and Derrick said: “It feels like I am begging but I am so grateful. I just want to thank everybody for their kindness.”

Derrick insisted on a receipt for the cash but the conman asked him to write all the details down and then went back to his van.

Derrick assumed he had gone for a letterhead and would return with the paperwork. Instead he drove off and never came back.

“I am always good with money but he was very professional and must have done that before. I just hope he is caught.”

But the good news is that the appeal now only needs to raise £1,200 as Burton Roofing in Leeds have offered a big discount on cost of materials and Alpha Scaffolding have also offered to cut their bill.

The con happened at 11am last Monday and the conman was mixed race, about 6ft tall with a stubbly beard. He drove a small blue Peugeot van.

Anyone with information should ring police on 101.

To donate go to https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/Hepworthsroof



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