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Handyman Scam Leaves Gaping Holes In Roofs And Pockets

Dodgy flyers offering home improvement services are what an alleged syndicate of British nationals used to fleece vulnerable people of thousands of dollars.

Pensioner Michael Hickson had been meaning to get his roof fixed for months, when a flyer for ‘Jordy’s Home Improvements’ popped into his letterbox.

“I rang them to come out and give me a quote and then subsequently got them to do the work,” Hickson told 10 News First.

He agreed to the quote of $1500 before six men began their work, dismantling his ceiling in preparation for a new one -- or so he thought.

Scam victim Michael Hickson. Image: Kimberley Pratt / 10 News First

They then offered to fix his rain gutters and another hole on the outside of his home, bringing their total to a whopping $43,000.

According to them, it had to be paid in advance.

READ MORE: Do You Really Know How To Spot An Online Scam?

“They were very pushy," Hickson said, standing under a gigantic hole that remains in his ceiling.

"They wanted more and more work for more and more money… and it had to be cash so they could purchase material, and I believed them."

He said the so-called handymen did “virtually nothing”, claiming they pulled the roof down and and left it.

The roof was left torn down. Image: Kimberley Pratt / 10 News First

A woman in Peakhurst was fleeced of a similar amount of money.

Police said it’s an all-too-familiar con that targets elderly, isolated and vulnerable people.

This group, which has been allegedly operating throughout southern Sydney, made it onto police radar when its accused “ringleader” tried to flee the country on a stolen passport last week.

Officers then tracked down a 20-year-old Irish national in Melbourne, who was attempting to board a Shanghai-bound flight.

Police allege he’d also booked a flight from Sydney to Hong Kong to throw them off, but never checked in.

He was arrested at Tullamarine airport and extradited to NSW, where he was charged with dishonestly obtaining financial gain by deception.

The man briefly appeared before Sutherland Local Court on Thursday but saved his bail bid until he can speak with a private lawyer.

He is facing up to 10 years behind bars if convicted.

Contact the author kpratt@networkten.com.au