THE glossy leaflets boasted of the company's honesty, integrity and professionalism and the chance to win a little extra cash.

Instead they were the lies that are now costing one Hampshire pensioner her home.

In just a few months what started as an opportunity to ease financial worries has become a nightmare that has left her seriously in debt for the first time in her life.

After signing up to receive racing tips from a tipster service', the 78-year-old from the Waterside has now found herself embroiled in a scam that has cost her £25,000.

Her losses started when she began betting her £5,000 savings on tips apparently coming from a racing insider'. Although initially there was some limited success, the savings soon dried up and the woman then went to the Citizens Advice Bureau to seek some advice.

However later that day, as she was wondering how she would make her money back, she received a phone call out of the blue from a man purporting to be a vet, and who said he would pay her £1,500 a month to place massive bets for him on horses and football.

With no cash left of her own, the man then convinced the woman to take out credit card loans, which eventually reached £20,000, so she could place the bets for him and earn the promised £1,500.

However none of the bets he asked her to place ever came in.

Now the woman, who asked the Daily Echo to keep her identity a secret because she is too ashamed to tell her family of the con, is struggling to make ends meet after having to take out a crippling bank loan to pay off the credit cards.

Her story comes a week after the Daily Echo reported that trading standards officers had foiled a similar scam run from a Winchester address, intercepting more than £26,000 in cash and cheques.

"I worry that am I the biggest sap of all, but I doubt it. I wonder how many other people he has done it to," the pensioner said.

"I shouldn't have been so trusting, but he was so overwhelming on the phone and I thought this was a way to get my money back.

"He cleaned me out. He even asked if I had any building society accounts after my bank account and credit cards were emptied, but I've never heard from him since.

"I wake up in the mornings trembling. I'm so angry with myself because I've been duped and that I could be such an idiot.

"I've always watched the pennies, but now I can't afford to live.

"I'm going to sell my house and rent because I can't go on. I've got service charges, estate fees and the general cost of living. I don't know how he sleeps at night - it's wicked."

A spokesman for Hampshire trading standards warned residents to be on their guard against similar scams, adding that if a deal seemed too good to be true, it probably is.