A COUPLE who own a bed and breakfast in the quaint Blackdown Hills have warned people to be on the lookout for two scammers after they were rocked by a recent theft.

Cathy and Neil Arnold have run the Lodge House B&B, in Buckland St Mary, for more than seven years and say the incident means they have ‘lost their trust in people’.

It all started when the couple received a call from a man who gave his name as Roger Addicott, who wished to book a room at the B&B for five nights.

‘Roger’ told the Somerset pair he would be carrying out civil engineering works in the area, and he and a colleague needed somewhere to stay.

His co-worker, who said his name was Richard Church, was to arrive last Monday, with Roger due to join him from the Tuesday onwards.

Mr Arnold told the News that Lodge House has previously provided a temporary home to people working on the A303, so the story did not raise any red flags.

Neil said: “Richard Church arrived at the house quite late on the Monday and parked at the front.

“It was late, so I didn’t go out and see the registration plate or the type of car.

“We showed him to his room and agreed a time for breakfast.

“He didn’t want an early start, but my wife got up early as she had to go to the dentist, and when she came down the dining room light was on.

“Cathy went to check her handbag and there was no money in there. £30 had gone.

“I checked in my wallet and £20 was gone, and my bank cards were gone.”

Neil said he immediately called the bank to cancel his cards, and then called the police to report the theft.

The Arnolds later found that the assailant had made a number of contactless payments for petrol, at Horton Cross, and then at Morrisons and Sainsbury’s in Yeovil.

The scammers also treated themselves to a McDonalds meal.

In all they spent just under £200 on petrol, as well as the £50 cash stolen and the loss of £300 in trade.

Neil described ‘Richard Church’ as five foot five, short and barrel-chested.

He was very clean, had short dark hair, wore jeans and a shirt.

He didn’t wear glasses, and had no tattoos or piercings.

“We have lost our money, and our trust in people,” Neil added.

“This could happen anywhere. This is the West Country - a lot of people do accommodation.”

A spokesman for Avon Somerset Police confirmed that they had received the report of the theft from Lodge House B&B, and that they were investigating the incident.

If anyone has information which could help police, contact call 101 and give the crime reference 5219244310.