Jail sentence for bogus workman in roof repair scam

Crown Office and Procurator FiscalA man has been sentenced to 10 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to conning an 89-year-old woman out of thousands of pounds for unnecessary roof repairs.

Airdrie Sheriff Court heard that on Friday 6 December 2013 Barney Doherty, accompanied by another male, cold called the woman at her home in Chryston Cumbernauld 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 £1500 cash.

The pattern being that each time one job was completed the men 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. A later assessment by a local authority technical inspector estimated the total value of the work carried out to be 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 and tried to pressure woman into paying him to carry out work to rectify that.

It was at this time the homeowner contacted a neighbour in the building trade for advice and when Doherty later rang to arrange the work the neighbour answered the phone. He advised he was a qualified surveyor and in response Doherty became evasive and then hung up.

Speaking following sentencing, 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.”

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