A thief tricked an 84 year-old man into forking out £80 for plants which did not exist.

Shortly after 2pm last Thursday a stocky man in his late 50s knocked on the door of a house in Maple Crescent on the Trees estate at Westleigh.

He asked the occupant if he wanted to buy some plants for his front yard and when he agreed he handed over £80 as payment.

The would-be seller said he would get the plants from his van, but never returned. He is described as white, 5ft 6in tall, with short hair. He spoke with a local accent and wore a red coat with a badge on the left hand side.

He was last seen walking in the direction of Bright Street.

Police Constable Chris Waddicar said: “I would urge anyone with information about this person or the incident to call us as soon as possible.

“I would also urge residents not to let anyone into their home without first checking they are a legitimate caller. Always ask for identification and if you remain unsure do not let anyone in. If at any point you are fearful then ring the police immediately.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 7963, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.