Callous conmen targeted frail Dundee OAPs and claimed they had rot in their homes

Paul McDonough

Two bogus workmen targeted two vulnerable OAPs — aged 94 and 84 — telling them they had rot in their homes.

William McPhee, 32, and Paul McDonagh, 28, tried to dupe the pensioners on February 10.

On Friday, the 84-year-old victim — who the Tele has chosen not to name to protect her safety — said she “had a lucky escape.”

Fiscal depute Isma Mukhtar said the 94-year-old was in her garden in Beaumont Crescent, Broughty Ferry, when she saw a male enter.

He said he’d had done work for her in the past and there were repairs to carry out under warranty.

The second accused then appeared with a set of ladders and told the woman it would be easier to repair from inside.

She followed them into the loft where she was shown insulation with insects.

The accused told her it would cost £1,000 if someone else did it.

Ms Mukhtar said the woman became “extremely dubious” and asked them to leave, which they did.

The fiscal depute said at 3pm that day, the 84-year-old was in her home, in the same street, when McDonagh attended and said he had previously been at her address to fix tiles.

When he came back with ladders and accompanied by another male, he told her there was wet rot in the roof and they would have to go inside for a better look.

She was told it would cost £500 to repair. She then called her daughter who contacted police.

Now, the 84-year-old victim warned others against agreeing to any work which has to be paid for up front.

She said: “I was upset — it’s just terrible that people go around and do things like that.

“They told me they were working in the street and said they thought there might be a problem with my roof. I shouldn’t have let them in but you never expect something like that to happen.

“I’ve put signs up since then for no cold callers and would never agree to anything like that again.”

McPhee and McDonagh, of Thorntonwood Travelling Persons Site, Thornton Wood, Kelty, admitted that on February 10 they pretended to the pensioners they were tradesmen and that there was an infestation of woodworm or rot in the attic timbers.

McPhee was jailed for eight months by Sheriff Alastair Brown while McDonagh was placed on a community payback order with unpaid work.