Police are urging residents to be vigilant following a spate of rogue trading targeting elderly people in St Ives and Huntingdon.

The incidents, which are believed to be linked, happened on Saturday, June 17, in Little How, St Ives, where approximately £100 was taken; Monday, June 19, through to Thursday, June 22, in Greengarth, St Ives, where £450 was taken over four days; and Wednesday, June 28, and Thursday, June 29, in Ambury Road, Huntingdon, where £750 was taken over two days.

The offender has been offering to do gardening work at a reasonable price for elderly victims. However, he asks them to pay up front to cover the cost of tools and then doesn't complete the agreed work.

He is described as white, 5'7-8”, aged in his early 40s, with short dark receding hair.

PCSO Angie Wilson said: “If you have an elderly relative or neighbour it's worth talking to them about this type of crime to prevent them from becoming victims of these cowardly offenders.

“To reduce the risk of becoming a victim of a rogue trader we advise you to be very wary of giving work to anyone 'cold calling' at the door or from a 'flyer' posted through your letter box.

“The price may seem reasonable at first, and this is designed to gain your trust, however very quickly you will be asked for more money in order to complete the job, whilst the offenders do very little work.

“My advice would be not to pay them a penny until the job is complete and you are completely satisfied. And if a gardener needs money to buy tools then he's in the wrong job. Don't fall for it.

“If in any doubt about a trader or workmen you should contact your local Council Trading Standards Department or the police on 101 or 999 if you are frightened for your safety.”

Anyone with information regarding these incidents should call police on 101 quoting the relevant crime number or visit www.contactcambspolice.uk/Report. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.