Cruel bogus workmen tried to fleece a vulnerable pensioner out of £7,000 to remove just six trees.
The 79-year-old woman, from Linwood, handed over £500 but was talked out of paying the rest by worried neighbours.
Police are now hunting the callous crooks who targeted the woman in her Carradale Place home between July 22 and 24.
It’s understood she asked the two men to carry out work as they leafleted the area.
Their initial price of £1,200 quickly rose to £7,000 when they allegedly found the trees to be diseased.
The victim agreed to pay a small deposit before neighbours stepped in.
Cops are now investigating the incident, which they say could have been much worse.
Sergeant Kevin McGee from Renfrew, Johnstone and the villages community policing team, said: “Had neighbours not intervened, the victim could have lost out on a significant sum of money.
“We are very keen to establish the identity of the suspects and would urge the anyone with information.
“Did you see two men in that area with a works van? If so, we would like to hear from you.
“Sadly at this time of year, we see an increase in these types of incidents and I would ask people to be extra vigilant.
“If you are quoted a price for work, it is always a good idea to check it with a friend or family member to make sure it is reasonable before you agree to go ahead.”
In a similar incident on July 19, a bogus workman targeted an 86-year-old woman in Nightingale Place, Johnstone.
He spent 30 minutes trimming bushes before charging her £400.
Again, police are appealing for information.
Sergeant McGee added: “If you saw a works van in the area or a suspicious male approaching doors then we would like to hear from you.
“I would also ask members of the public to get in touch if they receive a leaflet through the door for gardening or construction which they believe to be suspicious.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.