A couple from Rusper were among residents who were targeted by conmen posing as Highways officers and offering to resurface their driveways on the cheap.
West Sussex County Council has received reports of a number of recent attempts by several men, presenting themselves the council’s contractors. They say they are currently working on West Sussex roads repairing potholes and carrying out resurfacing.
Eileen and Michael Hallam were among several people who alerted the council to the problem after a group of men knocked on their front door asking if they needed their driveway resurfaced.
Eileen said: “They told us that they had been undertaking road works nearby and had some leftover tarmac which they could use to resurface our driveway quite cheaply.
“We’ve had a number of workmen carrying out pothole repairs in the area over the last few days and, at the time, they appeared genuine.
“They said that they would draw up an invoice for the work, including VAT, and we could pay by cheque or transfer the money once the work was complete.
“However, when they turned up again the following day with their equipment they said they could not provide an invoice and would only take cash payment.
“That’s when alarm bells started ringing and we asked them to leave and threatened to call the police. They didn’t hang around after that.
“We rang the county council and then Balfour Beatty who confirmed that the men did not work for them and that they would never offer this kind of service.
“This is obviously a scam and we’re very concerned that they may target more residents in the area, particularly older or more vulnerable people, who may not recognise they are conmen and will be left out of pocket.“
A spokesman for county council contractor Balfour Beatty added that any sub-contractors they use would always be able to prove that they were genuine highways workers working on behalf of the county council.
John O’Brien, Acting county council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “It is worrying that residents are being targeted by bogus workmen pretending to be legitimate county council contractors.
“Thankfully no one has fallen for this scam yet but it is important we get the message out to residents to be on their guard.
“I would urge anyone who is approached by any workmen offering to provide private building work on behalf of the county council to report it as soon as possible to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06, or contact the Police.”