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NEW DRIVEWAY? THAT'LL COST YOU.. pounds 177K; EXCLUSIVE Gang member jailed in OAP scam.

Byline: By JOHN KELLY

ROGUE workmen duped a pensioner into paying pounds 177,000 to have the drive of his bungalow paved.

A cheque from the 76-year-old victim was quickly cashed by the gang, believed to have netted pounds 700,000 in one town alone.

One of the Northern Ireland-based ring was caught after the scam in Lytham St Annes, Lancs, and police are hunting the rest.

Officers were called in after the family of the OAP, whose home is worth pounds 450,000, noticed the large bank withdrawal. The price worked out at more than pounds 170 per block laid.

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: "To charge pounds 177,000 to block-pave a drive is astonishing and dishonest. You could build a house for that. There is an ongoing investigation over this gang who preyed on the elderly whom they saw as wealthy soft targets. They got the cheques, cleared them, turned them into cash and went.

"We can only reiterate our warnings to people to make sure who they are dealing with are legitimate business by checking with people like Trading Standards."

Tommy McNern, 42, of Enniskinnen, was jailed for three-and-a-half years last week after admitting two charges of money laundering.

One involved the pounds 177,000 cheque, and the other was for a payment of pounds 40,000.

j.kelly@mirror.co.uk

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 22, 2007
Words:234
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