SCAMMERS have fleeced a Gourock couple in a 'free' boiler fiddle and tried to tie them into a TEN YEAR payment scheme totalling thousands of pounds.

Bogus workmen even managed to get enough personal information out of the unwitting husband and wife to take out a personal loan in their names.

The duo — calling themselves 'Tam' and 'Craig' — promised to replace their old boiler with a free one under a non-existent EU grant scheme.

But they warned them they'd have to act quickly to take advantage of the time-sensitive offer.

The wife, who declined to be identified, said: "They said that we needed to pay a £600 deposit to get the grant process started but that we'd get that back. They took some details and then left.

"We did a bank transfer for the £600. The next thing, we got a text from Tesco Bank saying our loan had been approved and paid into our account.

"But we didn't apply for a loan. It was Tam and Craig but they never mentioned a loan or anything like that.

"This started us thinking and my husband took a long look at the receipt, there's no VAT registration number and the street name is misspelt. It's also someone's home address."

The woman added: "My husband called the number and spoke to Tam. He said, 'You can't expect to get something for nothing'.

"He said the boiler was free but there was a £3,000 charge for upkeep for the next 10 years.

"Then he started to get nasty on the phone and said there was no way we were getting our money back."

The couple had been initially approached by two women at their home who asked how old their boiler was before arranging for Tam and Craig to call round.

They were active in the Bute Street area of Gourock and are described as being in their 30s, with one having a strong east coast accent.

An engineer, who said he installed boilers as 'homers' for the bogus company, was sent away by the couple, who eventually found out that the unit would cost £1,495 plus VAT.

The victim said: "I found the same one on Amazon for £715 and that wasn't even a trade price.

"Tesco has been good about the loan, but we're still £600 out of pocket."

Councillor Michael McCormick, who chairs Inverclyde Council's environment and regeneration committee, said: "In this case there is no EU grant, just a cynical attempt to deprive people of their consumer rights and con them out of £3,000 for a £700 boiler.

"Tam and Craig clearly got enough information from this couple to successfully apply for a large loan in their names.

"If you enter into a contract over the phone, online or at home, you have 14 calendar days to cancel the contract under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.

"The cooling-off period starts the day after you agree to go ahead with the service."