A PENSIONER gave £2,600 to a gang of thieves posing as window fitters - and watched them drive off after they had wrecked his home.
The gang ripped out two windows and the front door of Edward Kelly's Netherton home. They then went for lunch - and never returned.
The five-strong gang left smashed glass and splintered woodwork in the garden before vanishing.
Now, Huddersfield police are trying to track down the bogus workmen, who struck on Wednesday.
And Mr Kelly has had to call in a reputable firm to repair the damage.
"I'd have been better off if I'd just given them the money," said the upset 66-year-old, of Chapel Street. "They wouldn't have done the damage then. At least I'd have a front door and windows."
The crooks operated under the name All Seasons.
A fake phone number was painted on the side of their van.
They rang Mr Kelly last week to sort out the job and arrived on Wednesday morning, as promised.
But after their damage spree, they vanished with the cash.
Richard Pogson, of Lockwood Windows, estimated the damage would cost £1,000 to put right.
"This is the worst thing I have ever come across," he added. "Mr Kelly was in a right state."
Mr Pogson said professional workmen would have lifted old windows out, but the thieves had just punched through them.
Sgt Tim O'Sullivan, of Huddersfield police, said they were investigating the incident.
He also warned householders not to accept work from cold callers.
"Get a reputable company. Go through Yellow Pages.
"People who come and knock at your door are generally not as reputable as the others," he added.
"And don't pay anything until the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
"Perhaps take numbers of any vehicles that are around in the area," added Sgt O'Sullivan.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to phone Pc Barrie Simmons on 01484 436876.