Bogus workman ordered to pay back £2,700 to Borders pensioner he conned

Selkirk Sheriff Court.
Selkirk Sheriff Court.

A fraudster convicted of conning an 80-year-old man out of £2,700 by charging him for building work that didn’t need doing has been ordered to pay back that money.

Alexander Reid admitted committing that offence at a house in West Linton between February 12 and February 15.

The 38-year-old, of Mainhill Road, Bargeddie, North Lanarkshire, pleaded guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court to pretending to the man that work needed done to his property and obtaining £2,700 by fraud.

Procurator fiscal Graham Fraser said that Reid was already known to the police for bogus-calling offences.

He described how initially Reid offered to clear out his roanpipes for £50, and the pensioner thought that was a good deal.

When he came back on February 13 with two men said to be roofers, he claimed that more work to the roof had been identified as needing doing.

Reid said he would normally charge £3,000 for that job but would offer a £300 discount if he got the cash up front as he needed it to buy materials.

A suspicious neighbour made a note of the men’s van’s registration number, enabling police to track down Reid.

Reid was also identified by DNA left on a cup of coffee the pensioner made him.

An expert was hired to examine the roof and it was found that the so-called workmen had carried out minimal work on it and what little they had done was unnecessary.

Reid’s lawyer said his client accepted full responsibility for his actions.

He admitted the father of four had taken advantage of his 80-year-old victim, saying: “He is fully aware of the impact on the complainant. He is borrowing money from family and friends so he can pay him back.”

Sheriff Peter Paterson said such an offence would normally attract a custodial sentence but that would deprive the householder of any chance of getting his money back via a compensation order.

He ordered Reid to pay £2,700 in compensation and imposed a restriction-of-liberty order keeping him at home between 8pm and 7am daily.