Jail for Leeds conman who fleeced elderly

Steven Wood.

Steven Wood.

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A conman extorted thousands of pounds from vulnerable pensioners for work on their homes which was never done.

Steven Wood, 29, charged one of his victims £7,000 to remove a few conifers from her garden then forced her to go the bank on her mobility scooter to withdraw cash.

Wood, who has a history of preying on the elderly, was jailed for four and half years after pleading guilty to fraud and two offences of conspiracy to defraud.

Leeds Crown Court heard Wood was part of a gang who targeted pensioners in the Leeds area.

His first victim was a frail 79-year-old man in Otley who Wood preyed upon for almost two years. John Harrison, prosecuting, said Wood extorted money from him on regular occasions for work on his home which was not carried out.

The victim was put under pressure to pay with threats of legal action. The man parted with a total of £5,000 in cash and cheques before neighbours contacted the police.

The offences came to light after they discovered invoices and other fake documents Wood had made out claiming £8,000 for work which was worth just £700.

Wood targeted his next victim, a 78-year-old woman in Menston, after he was arrested and released on bail for the earlier offences.

The woman received unsolicited calls at her home from Wood who claimed that roofing and other work needed to be done on her home. On one occasion, in February last year, Wood went to the bank with women where she withdrew £2,000.

In April this year Wood went to the home of an 82-year-old woman in Wetherby and told her she needed some conifers removed from her garden or she would be fined.

He told her the work would cost her £7,000 and persuaded her to go to the bank on her mobility scooter and withdraw half of the amount in cash.

When he returned to her home to collect the rest of the money she contacted the police.

The court heard Wood, of Kineholme Drive, Otley, was serving a suspended sentence at the time of the offences after he was convicted of deceiving an elderly man in Bradford.

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