POLICE have issued an urgent warning to family and friends of the elderly after four men attempted to con Barnsley pensioners out of thousands of pounds by falsley offering to carry out work at their homes.

The first incident happened on January 15, when the men told an 88-year-old man in Bleak Avenue, Shafton that he needed some work doing to his roof.

They took a £500 deposit after falsely claiming they had just completed some work on a neighbour’s roof, before asking the man to go to the bank to withdraw a further £2,500.

The bank notified the police before any money could be handed over.

One of the men is described as white, clean-shaven, about 5ft 7ins tall, in his 30s, with short, straight black hair. A second man is described as black, 5ft 10ins tall, of a stocky build, aged around 40, with a short, thick beard. The other two men are described as white.

Then, on January 25, another 88-year-old pensioner living in Upper Sheffield Road was visited by a man who offered to carry out a number of maintenance jobs for just £14 a day.

After he agreed, three other men then turned up at his address to carry out the work, which they then said would cost around £5,000.

They then reduced the price to £1,500, asking the occupant to go the bank to withdraw the cash. Bank staff again notified police.

The first man who attended the house is described as white, aged in his mid-40s, well-built, with short, ginger hair, blue eyes and about 5ft 7ins tall. He reportedly spoke with an Irish accent and was wearing a dark suit, brown slip-on shoes and was carrying a black brief case.

The other three men are all described as white, aged between 20-30-years-old, around 5ft 10ins tall and of average builds with short, dark hair.

They are all said to have been wearing dark clothing and spoke with Irish accents.

The following day (January 26), a man living on Sunderland Terrace reported receiving a call from a man offering to carry out some maintenance work for him. After refusing, three other men then arrived at the address, offering to do some gardening work.

They left when the occupant said he was going to call the police.

Detective Sergeant Claire Moss said: “While there are some differences in these incidents, we are treating them as linked and would ask residents to report any similar incidents to us.

“If anyone saw or heard anything suspicious at the dates and times mentioned, or saw the van in the area, please get in touch with us as information you have could prove useful in identifying the offenders.

“I’d also like to ask residents to be vigilant and be mindful of anyone offering to do work who does not seem genuine. If you have elderly friends of relatives who you think could be vulnerable to incidents like this, please talk to them and ask them to call us to report anything suspicious.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, quoting incident number 475 of January 25 2018.