Rogue traders ripped off elderly Leeds couple

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A PAIR of bogus workmen preyed on an elderly couple and made them part with cash for work which they failed to complete, a court heard.

Barry Evans and Thomas McDonagh targeted the frail couple at their home in Burley, Leeds, by offering to remove asbestos cladding from their garden.

Leeds Crown Court heard the two men also drove the 84-year-old male victim to a cash machine to withdraw money. They also tried to get his 73-year-old wife to go with them to withdraw cash.

Niall Carlin, prosecuting, said the couple had been trying to contact the council to get the asbestos removed but were approached by Evans and McDonagh on February 21 this year. They offered to take it away for £200.

The two men instead stripped a tree in the garden, claiming to was damaging telephone wires and demanded a further £250.

The elderly man was then driven to the cash machine. Mr Carlin said the pair failed to remove the asbestos and instead hid it in a gap between a garage and a fence.

They then tried to get the elderly women to hand over money but were told to come back the next day. The incident was reported to the police and Evans, 45, and McDonagh, 23, were arrested when they returned to the property the next day.

They pleaded guilty to fraud. The court was read a victim impact statement from the elderly woman in which she described how the offence meant they felt they could no longer trust each other. She said: “I can’t understand why someone would so something like that.

“I will never see people in the same light again. They are going around taking advantage of decent people.

Ben Campbell, for McDonagh, of Renbury Avenue, Manchester, said the father-of-three was ashamed of what he had done and had committed the offence in a bid to pay of debts.

The court heard Evans, of Thorpe Lane, Tingley, was also ashamed of what he had done and wished to return the money to the victims.

Both men were given a 30-week prison sentence, suspended for two years, and were ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work.

Recorder Peter Babb said: “This was a wicked enterprise.”