A campaign has been launched to help a World War Two veteran who was tricked out of his life’s savings.
Albert Simpson, 92, was left unable to buy his weekly shopping after scammers conned him out of £10,000, which he believed was going towards drugs to cure his arthritis.
The pensioner, who spent time in active service in Northern Africa and Europe, was facing overdraft charges when his carer, Sarah Simons, noticed that something was wrong and stepped in to help.
She alerted Trading Standards to the fraud.
She described how she noticed a change in his behaviour after the money had been stolen, saying:
"Albert is a friend and I just couldn't put my finger on what was wrong at first. His telephone kept on ringing and he didn't have enough money for his weekly shopping. He started hiding things from me and was becoming more worried. He'd have episodes when he was really down and expressed worries he was going to be overdrawn."
But now, well-wishers have set up a fundraising page to help Albert, which has so far raised £1,805, over the £1000 target.
Andru Keel, who set up the fundraising page said:
"Albert is a dear, trusting old man who longs to see the good in everyone he meets.
"I was appalled to read what has happened to him and even though £10,000 is a lot of money to raise I'm sure we can get close to it if everyone chips in a bit.
"It would be so good to give back to him the money he has worked hard to save over the years.
"If you too were angered or upset by what was done to Albert please give to his cause."
Unfortunately, Albert may have to miss his respite care this year, a two-week break he looks forward to every Christmas.
Sarah expressed her worry about Albert’s financial status, saying:
"He explained he had letters from his bank and showed them to me. He had been charged £5,000 here, £2,000 there. I couldn't believe it. He's very trusting and I knew something wasn't right."
Whilst the con artists have not yet been caught, Albert said that the situation had been a learning experience:
"I've learned a lesson - well, you do, don't you? And nobody's learned more lessons in life than me."
Councilor Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for environment at Sheffield Council, also expressed the importance of carers in the community remaining alert to such scams:
"We know that some of the most vulnerable people in Sheffield sadly won't have face-to- face contact with many people on a daily basis, which is why it's important that we use those living and working in our communities to look out for these people and be aware of the signs of scams and rogue trading.
"It is a sad fact that criminals prey on the most vulnerable.
"But once we are made aware of people being a victim of rogue traders or scams, we can use all the powers at our disposal to stop it happening again - and to bring these criminals to justice.
"The message is to friends, families and neighbours - you can help us to help your loved ones."
If you would like to donate to help Albert, please click here.
Pictures courtesy of SWNS.