AN Edinburgh pensioner was made to pay more than £172,000 for repairs to his property by a cowboy builder who had carried out work worth around £60,000.
The 74-year-old man was one of 12 victims of Patrick Young, 56, who targeted elderly people across Scotland, many of whom lived alone, and tricked them into handing over fortunes from their savings.
He took a total of £535,917 for unnecessary or incompetent work which should have cost at most £185,917.
Young, of Doune, Perthshire, was jailed for eight years and nine months yesterday, having earlier admitted to 13 charges including fraud and extortion.
Young and his associates, including his three sons – Thomas, 28, William, 26 and 21-year-old Michael – would knock on the doors of elderly homeowners and tell them they had spotted flaws with their homes.
His sons were also accused of being involved in the scam, but walked free when their not guilty pleas were accepted by prosecutors.
One of the victims was 79-year-old retired solicitor Alexander Shepherd, who lost £173,000 when Young told him his townhouse needed plastered, new window sills, waterproofing work and roof repairs. A survey later found the work should have cost just £39,240.
He also took more than £7500 from Second World War navy veteran Kenneth Lyon, 90, when he commissioned them to knock down a roofed area that linked his garage to his Capital home after they quoted him £800 for the job.
Police were alerted by city pensioner Gerda Rankin, 77, after Young told her he wanted £6000 in cash for carrying out repairs to her roof.
A Proceeds of Crime hearing, regarding the money and assets Young acquired during the frauds, will take place next year.
Detective Inspector Alan O’Brien said: “Patrick Young was a cold and callous individual who preyed on vulnerable members of our community. This sentence today reflects the seriousness of his crimes.
“We were able to apprehend him through the excellent work of our dedicated doorstep crime team – Operation Aristotle – after he tried to overcharge a homeowner in the Bonaly area of Edinburgh for work carried out years before.
“A further 16 complainers were then identified, many of them being in Edinburgh, and he was charged with fraud.
“This case highlights the insidious nature of doorstep crime and we hope this sentence will go some way to preventing others from being targeted in the future by unscrupulous bogus traders.”
Kenny Donnelly, procurator-fiscal for High Court in East of Scotland, said: “The Crown has a prosecution policy focused on tackling crimes against older people.”