BOGUS traders have fleeced pensioners out of thousands of pounds for work they did not do.

The 76-year-old Chichester resident received a leaflet for tree and hedge trimming, which contained just a mobile phone number and an email.

He handed over £45,000 for work which started, but was never completed.

The bogus trader had also demanded a further £25,000 before disappearing.

It was one of many frauds reported to the police, which says the number of incidents reported doubled in July.

Meanwhile a 71-year-old Brighton woman handed over £1,700 for garden work, but the workmen then failed to show up.

And in Hailsham two men claimed to be there to unblock a drain. A woman assumed the men were from Southern Water.

She gave them £130, they returned later and asked for a further £200 to put a camera into the drain.

After starting, they left and did not return.

Conmen also targeted an 84-year-old man in Horsham about clearing trees and drains for £480. They then changed the price to £5,850.

The resident went to the bank to withdraw the sum in cash, but staff there alerted the police.

It has sparked a police warning, as there were 67 similar reports across the county in July, up from 31 reports in June and 32 in May.

PC Bernadette Lawrie, BEM, said: “We urge residents to remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious to us. It’s also important to remember to challenge any unknown callers for ID.

“Not sure? Don’t open the door.

“Never have work done by anyone who cold calls. No reputable trader ever approaches a customer in this way.”

Crimes can be reported on 101, quoting Operation Signature, or 999 if you feel unsafe or threatened.