A woman who was conned out of £750 by a gang of rogue traders posing as gardeners has warned others to be on their guard.
The woman in her 60s, who wishes to remain anonymous, was duped last month when three men came to her front door saying they’d been sent by her neighbour, who they identified by name.
She said the group leader was friendly and his “inside knowledge” of her neighbours and the area meant she was able to be tricked.
“He gave me a really cheap quote so I should’ve realised,” the Leyton resident said.
“Don’t let anybody into your house that you haven’t already contacted. Look on the internet and get recommendations.”
The men offered to cut down a tree in her back garden for £160 but then hiked the price up after saying they needed extra money to take the wood away.
After agreeing to a price of £750 and borrowing money from friends to pay them, she later found the men had left the wood, including heavy sections of the trunk, in neighbours' gardens.
“It was very embarrassing,” she said.
"It took three days to chop it up and about two weeks to get rid of everything.”
The gang is thought to be one of two operating in the area.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, deputy leader of Waltham Forest Council and cabinet member for environment, said: “These unscrupulous traders are employing underhand tactics to swindle our residents out of their hard earned cash.
“We’re asking residents to be extra vigilant and not to give them any opportunity to profit from people’s misfortune.”
Both gangs are reported to be made up of three men, possibly driving white lorries identifying themselves as tree surgeons.