Victims of conmen speak about trauma

Lilian Molyneux and partner John Harding in their front garden at Luton Road, Anchorsholme, which was paved by the Tomneys.
Lilian Molyneux and partner John Harding in their front garden at Luton Road, Anchorsholme, which was paved by the Tomneys.

VULNERABLE pensioners have revealed their horror after becoming the victims of conmen.

And trading standards chiefs have handed out top tips on how to avoid being targeted by cruel fraudsters.

The Tomney gang, who were jailed last Monday for a total of 20 years, are believed to have conned pensioners out of hundreds of thousands of pounds by asking for money up front for botched building projects.

Francis Tomney Snr, 55, his twin sons Francis Jnr, and Thomas, 21, from Dorset Avenue, Cleveleys, and nephew Brian Tomney, 29, of Salford, targeted the elderly all over the Fylde.

Lilian Molyneux, 79, and her partner John Harding, 83, from Luton Road, Cleveleys, paid the conmen £4,000 for work on their front and back garden in March.

Ms Molyneux said: “When it rains, my garden floods because of the damage they did.

“We told them, but they didn’t come back to do anything about it.”

Mr Harding only discovered the identity of the workmen when he read a local newspaper.

He said: “I was shocked when I saw them in the newspaper.

“They were very friendly, but I should never have trusted them.”

Another victim, who did not wish to be named, paid £3,000 for a new drive, only for it to fall apart shortly after the Tomney’s left.

The 81-year-old said: “I wanted my driveway flagging but they told me what they did was better.

“They said they would do a good job, but they didn’t. They just put a lot of weed killer in the ground and it’s a mess.”

The majority of the vulnerable people were victims of cold-calling.

Trading Standards recommend consumers do not hand over a cash deposit, do not agree to a trader starting work straight away, and take time to consult with someone they trust before making any decision.