No jail for man who conned OAP out of £7000

Iain Inkster pleaded guilty to a series of charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Iain Inkster pleaded guilty to a series of charges at Edinburgh Sheriff Court

A man, who conned an Edinburgh pensioner out of £7000, by persuading him that building work needed to be carried out on his home, has avoided a prison sentence.

Mark McPhee, 25, of Ericht Drive, Dunfermline, had pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to obtaining £7000 by fraud between March and January 2014.

However, after handing over £4000 and promising to pay £1000 a month for three months in compensation to his victim, he was ordered to carry out unpaid work.

Fiscal Depute, Brian Robertson, told Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC that McPhee and another man persuaded a 78-year-old man, who lived in the Silverknowes area of the city, that building repair work was needed on his home.

Mr Robertson said some work was carried out, but it was very little and of a poor standard.

They provided their victim with handwritten notes of work carried out and how much was to be paid.

The Fiscal added: “They gave him gifts of cheese and slippers as some sort of inducement”.

Defence solicitor, Paul Ralph, told Sheriff Welsh that his client had £4000 available for compensation now and could pay £1000 a month thereafter for full repayment of the fraud.

Mr Ralph said McPhee was fit and able to carry out unpaid work in the community.

Sheriff Welsh told McPhee: “I have to be satisfied there is no alternative to a prison sentence and in your case I am satisfied I can impose an alternative”.

He placed McPhee under supervision on a two year Community Payback Order and to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work within 12 months. He also imposed a Restriction of Liberty Order for six months, confining McPhee to his parents’ home between 9pm to 6am.