'They don’t care whose lives they make a misery, as long as they get what they want in the end' - Family of dementia patient targeted by rogue traders voice concerns that details have been 'traded'
The family of the victim today voiced their fears his details have been ‘traded’ between rogue callers, after revealing he has been repeatedly targeted at his home.
The former serviceman, who has four children and six grandchildren, proudly served his country for more than 30 years and lived independently after his wife passed away.
But the widower was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2015, and since then has been targeted at least three times by door-to-door callers.
Today, the pensioner’s son, Michael Fahmy, 58, shared the family’s trauma as he called for action to introduce a compulsory registration scheme for traders.
“Perhaps rogue traders like these two wouldn’t abide by these rules anyway if they were in force, and people with mental illnesses like dementia, probably wouldn’t think to, or be able to, check their credentials, but at least there would be an added step of protection.”
His father served in the Air Force, then in the Army.
After leaving the forces, he studied for a management degree and worked for a few years in the Middle East.
He worked as a security guard in Leyland until he retired.
In 2009, his wife was taken seriously ill and died, and afterwards his mental state started to decline, his family say.
Despite his condition the 86-year-old was living independently. People around him, such as neighbours and local shopkeepers would keep an eye on him and alert Michael, but the actions of Reid and Smith have destroyed his confidence.
Michael says: “My dad would be devastated to see how he has ended up, he has always been a proud man, in his appearance and his ability to take care of himself, but now this has all been taken away from him.
“He is safe now, but not living the life he should be in retirement.
“But through all this, he remained a proud man, and even today, when I visit him, he always wears a shirt and tie, and usually a blazer, he has never lost his pride in his appearance.”
He revealed his dad was first approached by a cold caller in 2015. The family fear this was an “exploratory call” looking to pass on the details of vulnerable people to other traders.
This caller told him his roof was damaged and if he didn’t get it fixed, rain would leak into next door and damage their house, and that he would be held responsible and have to pay for the damage.
The frightened pensioner asked if he knew anyone that could fix it, and the man said that he could for £1,800.
The bogus roofer even called for a cab to take him to the bank to get the money, but luckily, the victim explained the situation to the taxi driver who drove him to Trading Standards rather than the bank.
Police were called but the offender fled.
Sadly the pensioner’s illness progressed further and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
In November 2017, Michael was in Newcastle for a concert when he received an irate call from trader Anthony Reid.
He explains: “I didn’t know who he was and he said he was doing some work on my dad’s driveway, but after two days work my dad told him he had no money to pay him.
“As I was driving down the next day, Mr Reid again rang me asking if I wanted the work finishing off or if he should stop. I told him I would be there in about 20 minutes and would make a decision when I got there.
“After talking to my dad, I told Mr Reid to finish the job and got my dad to write him a cheque for £600, then he left. My dad was both angry and upset, as he said he never asked for the work to be done and he just felt people were making things up to get money out of him.“It wasn’t until later on that I found out that Reid and another person, Smith, had taken my dad to the
bank to get him to draw some money out of his account. My dad has no recollection of the incident. Luckily, the bank worker spotted something didn’t seem right, and declined the request, and the bank’s CCTV was able to identify the people involved. I am forever grateful for the actions of the bank staff.”
Shockingly, as the case against Reid and Smith was being prepared, the increasingly vulnerable pensioner was visited a third time.
This time, three men attended his home and when he failed to answer the door, scaled his 6ft gate to the back garden and jet washed his garden path.
When a neighbour confronted them they said the man had asked them to do it and would need payment when they left. She told them to leave the bill with her, to pass on to Michael. The men fled left shortly afterwards without leaving a bill.
Michael says: “It would appear his details have been passed around as an easy target. They don’t care whose lives they make a misery, as long as they get what they want in the end.“I was always on edge anticipating another call to say someone else had tried to scam my dad.”
The resulting fear for his safety caused the family make a devastating decision to move the 86-year-old from his beloved Lostock Hall home to a care home in Cumbria near his relatives.
Michael explains: “At least I know these people and the likes of them, cannot get to him and he is safe. That is the upside.
“The downside is, he still talks about getting out of there and going home to his wife, and going for walks like he used to, he still longs to have his independence, but it wouldn’t be safe for him to return home.
“It’s sad to see him in the home, just sitting around, watching TV and waiting to be fed, then off to bed before the pattern is repeated the next day.
“It isn’t the life he wanted, not the life he was expecting when he retired, but these things get forced upon us sometimes by outside influences, and now it seems his safety is more important than his happiness.”