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Cruel conmen.

Hard to believe that we are in the month of goodwill to all men.

Earlier this week in Huddersfield two tricksters ratcheted up the traditional con game of fleece the pensioner to a sickening new level.

The usual way to play is to persuade the victim, in this case an 88-year-old woman from Birkby, that she needs some work done on her house roof. (Few elderly pensioners are agile enough to have seen the roof at close quarters recently, so it is not hard to be convincing.)

There follow demands for extortionate payments for the work done (or, in some cases, not done).

But this method relies on (a) the money to pay being in the victim's house or (b) the blaggardly predators having to wait while it is obtained from savings in the bank, or somewhere similar.

The new "improvement" on this is to take the pensioner to the bank and keep sending her in until she has withdrawn a sufficiently gratifying amount of cash. Thus more money is available and with less waiting time too.

Of course, this relies on a certain amount of terror on the part of the victim but, hey, a crook's got to live, hasn't he?

For those who answer that question in the negative, there arises the question of what we, as a society, are going to do about it.

Keep an eye on vulnerable would-be targets - they usually live alone - and be on good enough terms with them for there to be someone to turn to in this kind of emergency. Above all build up the community defences of Neighbourhood Watch.

It could be the best free gift you give this Christmas.

Ticket patrols

THE revenue protection officers installed outside Huddersfield railway station eight weeks ago seem to be the train passenger's equivalent of the motorist's traffic wardens.

They are only needed because some people are not paying fares. Yet the impression has got around that they are as intimidating as nightclub bouncers.

In the battle for minds, it is pointed out that the officials have had intensive customer care training, they won't get heavy with you but will insist that you have a ticket

and have discouraged undesirables.

Undoubtedly there has been a public relations problem here but that may not be unconnected to the fact that these are the first ticket checks in Huddersfield for 10 years.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Dec 3, 2004
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