Bogus workman jailed after conning elderly victims and tearing up their driveways

Alcock and McPhee appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
Alcock and McPhee appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.

A bogus workman who ripped up the driveways of Fife pensioners without their permission has been jailed for nine months.

Jason Alcock, of Harlesshill Road, Larkhall, appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court recently and was sent to prison for the offences while his accomplice Steven McPhee was fined £900.

Alcock (44) admitted that between May 26 and 28 at an address in Glenrothes he pretended to Albert and Mary Lister, who were both 83 at the time, that his workforce were qualified and competent tradesmen working for a limited company and that he would carry out paving works to a competent standard.

He admitted telling the couple the total price would be £2950 and that he would give them time to decide whether or they they wanted him to start the work.

But the truth was the limited company did not exist and he didn’t give them time to decide, instead he started the work without their permission.

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The work was not to a competent standard and the final price was in excess of £2950 and he induced them to pay £3390 by fraud.

The Procurator Fiscal Depute told the court the Listers were cold-called by Alcock and they had told him they would consider his quote of £2950 for new paving slabs.

They went out and when they later returned, they discovered their driveway had been torn up.

The Procurator Fiscal Depute said that given the state their driveway was now in, the couple felt they had no alternative but to have Alcock do the work.

However he demanded money before the job was finished and added more money on to the price, apparently for VAT.

But after a receipt was not provided, the Listers contacted the police.

Alcock further admitted between May 29 and May 30 at an address in Methil that he pretended to Isabelle Garrie that his workforce were qualified and were competent tradesmen working for a limited company and attempted to induce her to pay £4950 by fraud.

The court heard that in this case the work carried out on her driveway was done to an ‘atrocious standard.’

The Procurator Fiscal depute told the court Ms Garrie had gone to the Bank of Scotland in Leven to withdraw £4950 to pay Alcock, but when the bank manager became suspicious and spoke to her about why she was withdrawing such a big amount, the bank manager alerted the police.

The court heard it was standard practice for staff to be made aware when elderly customers withdraw large amounts of money at the bank.

While McPhee (39), of Thistle Park Thornton, admitted to engaging in aggressive commercial practice, removing paving slabs without the knowledge and permission of the householders and failing to give notice to the householders of their right to cancel contracts.

Sentencing Alcock on Thursday, Sheriff Grant McCulloch told him: “You seem to be the organiser of these events when you went cold calling and targeted a couple in their 80s, convincing them that they needed to get their driveway done. Then you added a figure to what had previously been agreed.”

He said the work was not done to the expected standard.

Sheriff McCulloch said in the case of his second victim, Ms Garrie, the work was done to an ‘incompetent standard’.

He added: “It seems to me you are someone who is a danger to society ...only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”

Sheriff McCulloch also ordered Alcock to pay compensation of £3390 to the Listers.