Police have warned Brits to check their driveways – after a rogue trader included a ‘code’ pattern letting other cowboys know the homeowner is an easy target.
The dodgy builder called at the elderly couple’s home and convinced them to let him do the work – before massively overcharging them £4,000.
He left the job unfinished but at the centre of the driveway he had placed a distinct squared pattern with different coloured blocks.
The 70-year-old resident hadn’t asked for the pattern but thought nothing of it – until other tradesman began calling at his home.
Over the next fours YEARS a series of rogue builders and traders called at his home – all offering to do work he did not need.
The house calls included four different builders offering to re-do the work the original trader left unfinished.
The couple, of Plymstock, Devon, eventually called in police who say they believe the pattern in the drive was a code to cowboys that the homeowner is vulnerable.
A spokesperson for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “There are grounds to suspect it is there to identify the house as a potential target for these type of offences.”
The 70-year-old victim said: “We paid for the work to be done, but they never sanded or sealed the driveway.
“A second lot came along, then another group, then another. I believe the paving symbol, which I didn’t ask for, is a signal for other people to look out for.
“My concern is they could be targeting other elderly people. There could be some gullible old woman living by herself thinking she has to pay up.
“I think these people will continue to try their luck with others.”
The elderly couple paid unscrupulous workers £4,000 for a paved front drive which was left unfinished – but included a design featuring five squares.
Since then a series of different groups of workmen have turned up at the terraced property offering to do work and asking for up to #6,000.
It is feared the pattern may have been included in driveways elsewhere and pensioners are being urged to remain vigilant.
The couple had the initial work done in August 2009 and paid them despite the workers leaving it incomplete.
The drive was never properly finished and three more groups of men appeared at their front door offering to finish the work off.
The most recent incident in November saw a man tell the victim he was entitled to £14,000 compensation for the poor work – but needed #6,000 in order to release it.
A police spokesman added: “One male asked for £6,000 from the victim in order to be able to release the £14,000 to him.
“Fortunately, the victim did not give the man any money and asked him to come back later for it.
“He did this in order to report it to the police and catch the male on his return; the male never returned.
“Each time the victim has had visitors offering work the men attending have changed.
“He does not have any details for the men, but states they have been a mixture of English, Romanian and Irish males.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.