IT IS the kind of crime which could not fail to sicken any right-thinking person.

Callous thieves have systematically robbed an 85-year-old man of his savings.

They’ve turned up at his home unasked, done repairs that he did not ask them to do and whittled away at his savings, even resorting to driving him to a money machine to withdraw more cash.

What is most sickening is that Alfred Frampton, a grandfather of four, living quietly in Marsh, felt so intimidated by these “big men” that he told no-one and did what they asked in the hope that they would go away.

His family were unaware of what was happening and a man whose generation prides itself on staying clear of debt, did what he thought was the honourable thing. When he was told that work had been done on his property, he paid up.

Police have rightly described the men involved in this as despicable.

While hoping that the police quickly find those responsible, let us all remember the part that we can play in situations like this. It doesn’t take much to keep a friendly eye on older neigh-bours. And if you see people calling who are unfamiliar or sense an older person is being put under pressure, don’t be afraid to intervene and ask questions.

Conmen who carry out these sort of thefts may soon disappear if they realise that their intended target is not in fact as vulnerable as first thought and is in fact under the wing of their community.