Elderly woman pressured into paying for 12 chainsaws she did not need

Price paid to cold-callers for tools and generators ‘extortionate’, say Cork gardaí

The items sold to the woman, who lives alone, have been retained as evidence. Photograph: An Garda Síochána

The items sold to the woman, who lives alone, have been retained as evidence. Photograph: An Garda Síochána


Gardaí in Co Cork are investigating after an elderly woman was cold-called at her house and pressured into paying “an extortionate price” for tools which she had no use for and did not want.

Gardaí said suspects called to the woman’s home in Bantry uninvited and made her feel pressurised into paying for 12 chainsaws, 11 generators, seven power washers and assorted tools.

The woman, who lives alone, handed over a substantial amount of money made of up of several cheques, most of which were cancelled before being cashed.

The incident happened at the end of 2018.

Gardaí are appealing to anyone who may also been a victim of such a crime to contact them at any Garda station. Gardaí are also asking people to make elderly family members, neighbours or friends aware of the incident and crime prevention advice from An Garda Síochána.

Speaking at Cork’s Anglesea Street Garda Station, Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Tony Davis said: “This is a heinous crime that was committed as it targets the more vulnerable members of our communities. If you have elderly or vulnerable neighbours and see or hear about bogus traders doing the rounds, let them and ourselves know so we can put out additional patrols.

“If you suspect that anyone who calls to your door selling goods or services is not who they say they are, tell them you are not interested and call the gardaí immediately. Genuine tradespeople won’t be offended by any queries the gardaí may make.

“If you are answering the door to ‘cold-callers’, apply the chain or door limiter before opening the door. I would also ask that if anyone feels like they, or someone they know has been a victim of being sold goods for extortionate prices, or paid for a service that was not carried out, to call any Garda station and report the matter.”

Sgt Davis said community policing units are “always on hand” to pay regular visits to anyone who might feel susceptible to any type of crime.

“We regularly host outings and pay visits to senior citizen’s groups and clubs so the people get to know their local Community Policing Unit and build up a relationship with them,” he added.