Bogus workmen defrauded pensioners


Two brothers have appeared in court for preying on elderly homeowners and conning them out of large sums of money.

William McPhee (32) targeted vulnerable victims across Fife telling them work was required to their homes and acting aggressively to obtain cash payments.

One of the victims was an 86-year-old, who was looking after his wife who has severe Alzheimer’s disease.

William McPhee lied about work being required to his roof and then sent the man to the bank on two occasions as the cost of the bogus work continued to increase.

His younger brother Hugh McPhee also became involved in the scam and took maggots into a pensioner’s home to make him think work was required.

The McPhees, who live at Thornton Wood travellers site, near Kelty, both appeared in the dock at Dunfermline Sheriff Court.

Hugh McPhee (19) admitted that on July 26 last year at Ballingry, he pretended to a 74-year-old man that his property had woodworm and required treatment, the truth being he knew there was no woodworm present.

He exhibited maggots he had taken to the property, drove the man to the bank to obtain cash, induced him to pay for bogus work and obtained £930 by fraud.

William McPhee admitted that on March 1 and March 2 at Castlandhill Road, Rosyth, while acting with others, he pretended to a male householder, aged 66, that remedial work was required to his roof.

He induced the man to pay for work that was not completed and in any event was unnecessary, obtaining £1600 by fraud.

He also admitted that on April 6 at Edzell Park, Kirkcaldy, he engaged in an aggressive commercial practice by insisting that the householder, a 78-year-old man, drive to the bank to obtain money and then demanded he hand over more money than agreed.

He further admitted that on April 22 at Harley Street, Rosyth, he pretended to the householder, an 86-year-old man, that roof slates were loose and that the roof was infested with dry rot.

He induced the man to pay for work that was unnecessary and was not completed, obtaining £1200 by fraud.

The court heard that William McPhee was jailed in 2005 for similar offences.

Sheriff Charles MacNair called for reports but told William McPhee he would be receiving a jail sentence and he was remanded in custody.

He will be sentenced on 3rd October as will Hugh McPhee who was granted bail.