Jail for scammer who conned pensioner

Police are cracking down on scammers
Police are cracking down on scammers

A bogus workman who conned his elderly victim in a roof repair scam has been jailed for 10 months following a guilty plea.

Barney Doherty received the sentence at Airdrie Sheriff Court last week after earlier admitting to scamming an 89-year-old woman out of thousands of pounds for unnecessary roof repairs.

The court had heard that in December 2013 Doherty, accompanied by another male, cold called the woman at her home in Chryston offering to clean her gutters.

The work was carried out and she paid them the agreed price of £20 at which time the victim was advised by the men that whilst cleaning the gutters they’d noticed more work that need doing to her roof.

Despite her initial refusal and reluctance the woman was eventually persuaded by the men, who insisted the additional work needed doing, and agreed to the fee of £1,500 cash.

The men then repeatedly highlighted additional work they said was required and over the next week were paid a total of £5,000 for ‘work’ carried out to the roof. The total value of the work carried out was estimated to be worth a little over £200.

Not content with doing work on the roof alone Doherty then stated the property was at risk of damage through rising damp.

The fraudster was caught out after being challenged by a neighbour who is a qualified surveyor.

Procurator Fiscal Ruth McQuaid said: “We know that offences of this nature can have a devastating effect on victims who are often targeted because of their age and that is why we have a prosecution policy focussed on tackling crimes against older people.

“Cases such as this demonstrate that we can disrupt the activities of these bogus workmen who deliberately target elderly householders and convince them they require urgent, costly and wholly unnecessary work to be carried out.

“Police and Prosecutors are working together to ensure that when these cases are reported to us that those responsible are prosecuted and pay for the consequences of their actions. “

Age Scotland, Scotland’s leading older people’s charity, advised: “This case highlights the importance of remembering that, if in doubt, saying no to doorstep sellers is the safest course of action.

“Doorstep scammers can be pushy and persuasive and it can be easy to fall victim. It’s especially important to be vigilant and aware if you live on your own.”