An 82-year-old woman believes a trio of the unruly tourists scammed her out of almost $9000, claiming they would fix her roof but left a hole in her ceiling.

Greenlane resident Heidrun Leonard said the tradesmen knocked on her door on January 4, saying they had noticed from the street there was a leak in her roof that needed repairs.

The man - who was with two other men - told Leonard they would not only fix the tiles on her roof but also install two dehumidifiers inside her home.

However, they needed upfront money to do so.

Advertisement

"You have to give us $8800, and once we have done the job, you will get the $8800 back," Leonard said the men told her.

She wrote the cheque they then cashed at the bank.

The next morning they came back to her house and cut a rectangular hole in her ceiling, before fleeing when Leonard's neighbour arrived and began asking questions.

Leonard told Newshub that she recognised one of the three from the rowdy British tourist group when she saw photos.

The group caught the attention of worldwide media after a seemingly innocuous litter incident at Takapuna Beach erupted into a North Island tale of thefts, unpaid bills and general nuisance behaviour.

The tourist family accused of bad behaviour leaving the Hamilton District Court on January 16.
The tourist family accused of bad behaviour leaving the Hamilton District Court on January 16.

Leonard said she had lodged a complaint with police.

A neighbour - who did not wish to be named - said the 82-year-old was a perfect target for the scammers because she was "very trusting".

"If someone tells her a story, she will believe in the goodness of their hearts," he said.

He said Leonard - whose children lived overseas in Berlin - was not rich and could not afford to lose the money.

"She's 82, and what seems like a reasonably big amount to a younger person is shattering to her," he said.

The three men appear to have also combed the neighbourhood.

Nearby neighbours of Leonard's, Des Carville and Fale Opapo, said the men also knocked on their doors.

Solar Chem Roofing sale representative Roly Swann said he had heard numerous stories about scammers and called them a "blight" on his industry.

He said he was contacted in December by the family of another elderly woman wanting advice after she was duped out of more than $10,000 by two guys with British accents.

He advised residents approached by strangers to always ask for identification and proof of a worker's qualifications or business and to also contact the Roofing Association of NZ if in doubt.

Leonard's neighbour said the men that scammed his elderly neighbour had been confident, alert and agile.

He first noticed a problem at Leonard's house on January 4 when he saw a tile out of place on her roof.

After the men left, he went to talk to Leonard and discovered she had given them money.

He said the fake tradesmen were so successful in tricking Leonard because they were able to play on a belief she already had that her roof was leaking.

The neighbour then phoned the police, who told him to immediately call back if the men returned.

When the tradesmen returned the next day, they began cutting a hole in Leonard's ceiling, until her neighbour noticed and came over to check what was happening.

When asked for identification or a business card, the two men present said it was in their car. But instead of coming back with their identification, they fled.

Leonard's neighbour suspected the men had returned on the second day to try scam more money.

The police arrived shortly after, saying they had tracked the car's registration to a motel but that they had not yet made any arrests.