A WOMAN was nearly conned out of £1,000 by bogus callers pretending to be from Southend Council.

And the council is now warning residents to be vigilant after a number of bogus callers were reported in the area.

Scammers have been reported knocking on doors and offering tree cutting and removal services.

In one incident, a man door-knocked an elderly woman on Bellhouse Lane, Southend, claimed he was working for the council and was able to remove a tree from her garden at a reduced cost.

The man later returned, entered the woman’s home and demanded £1,000 to clear the felled tree.

The man handed her his bank details to transfer the payment to and when she refused to pay, he became aggressive and made threats.

Essex Police have been made aware of the issue, while Southend Council stated its waste collection firm, Veola, works on an appointment only basis.

Carl Robinson, director for public protection at Southend Council, said: “Our parks service do not offer these services to members of the public and would never go door-knocking for business.

“While our waste contractor Veolia does offer waste collections privately, they work on an appointment-only basis and all staff carry identification.

“If you are door-knocked by someone claiming to be from the council and offering these services, turn them away, do not let them into your property and please notify Essex Police on 101.”

Alternatively, to report information on a crime anonymously, call dedicated crime fighting charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.