A housebound woman conned out of £88 by a rogue trader selling inedible fish has today urged others to be wary of scammers.
Jane Burrows, 77, from central Blackpool, has spoken out after being pressured into buying a bag that was not fit for human consumption and warned: “It could kill somebody.”
And she spoke of her frustration at being smooth-talked into spending her money on fish she didn’t want.
Ms Burrows, who lives alone, was in her house last Wednesday when she saw the man, who had apparently let himself in, in her hallway.
According to police, he demanded £156 for the fish when she confronted him.
She ended up paying £88 for one bag in a bid to get him to leave. But it turned out to be inedible whiting.
Today, Ms Burrows said: “Every time I think of him I boil up inside. He had no right being in my house.
“He didn’t ring the bell or knock on the door or anything.
“But as long as I can stop him hurting somebody else, that’s the important thing.
“It’s not just the money – if an older person eats it and gets food poisoning, it’s like a death sentence.”
She said the man was in his late 20s, with dark hair and a Manchester accent.
She added: “He had the gift of the gab. He was quick and friendly – he was in and out like a yo-yo.
“By the time I realised the fish was off he had gone.
“He said my salmon and haddock was in the bag but there was eight boxes of plaice and six whiting.
“They stunk to high heaven. I was washing my hands with lemon juice to get rid of the smell.”
After realising she had been conned, Ms Burrows told her daughter, Tracey Cleary, who took the whiting to a local fishmonger.
Janet Bradley, who works at The Lobster Pot, on Whitegate Drive, said: “It looked disgusting. If someone ate it, it would make them very poorly.
“To target a lady on her own like that is disgusting. I don’t know how they can sleep at night.
“I worked out a box like that would cost me about £2 if it was fresh, less if it was frozen, and she got 12 boxes for £88.”