Police have launched an internal investigation into why officers failed to respond to an elderly dementia sufferer being scammed.
Three men asking for work went knocking door to door in Higher Walton last Friday, eventually persuading a vulnerable woman to pay £1,200 for minor wall repairs.
When a neighbour - who asked not to be named - found out, he followed police advice to ring 999 but officers failed to turn up.
Force bosses have now apologised, saying the call should have been prioritised more highly.
The man said: “Another neighbour had already run the lady to the bank and I was worried. I rang the police and they asked if I could stay with her while an officer attended, which was no problem.
“I waited an hour and a half but the police still hadn’t arrived and the men started asking for the money.
“At one point one barged in, demanding the cash. I rang the police again to find out where they were, but was told it wasn’t an emergency and I shouldn’t be ringing 999.
“I waited another hour, but with the men threatening, I ended up giving one of them £900 and told them they weren’t getting a penny more.”
The man had to leave to attend a meeting, but on his return found out the woman had been pressurised into parting with an additional £300.
After taking the woman to a local police station the next day, he claims an officer said cut backs were to blame for the no-show.
He said: “I think it’s a disgrace. If the police won’t come out to an old lady with dementia being threatened, then what chance do the rest of us have?”
A Lancashire Police spokesperson said: “We have looked into the incident and offer our sincere apologies to the victim as the service she was offered falls short of the high standards we expect and on the vast majority of occasions provide to the public.
“The incident should have been prioritised more highly and we are investigating the matter further internally.”