Men ac­cused of con­ning OAPs in wood­worm scam

Four Trav­ellers al­legedly tar­geted el­derly women

The Courier & Advertiser (Dundee Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - PAUL MA­LIK

Four men have been ac­cused of con­ning vul­ner­a­ble Dundee pen­sion­ers by telling them their houses were in­fested with wood­worm.

Hugh McPhee, Wil­liam McPhee, Paul McDon­agh and Hugh McPhee deny defrauding an 86-year-old Down­field woman of £200 by pre­tend­ing to be trades­men and telling her her at­tic was in­fested with rot or wood­worm.

The men, who gave the court ad­dresses at the Thorn­ton­wood Trav­el­ling Per­sons site in Kelty, Fife, are al­leged to have un­suc­cess­fully tried the same trick on three other el­derly women – aged 86, 94 and 84, re­spec­tively – in Broughty Ferry. The of­fences were said to have taken place in Fe­bru­ary. All four men pleaded not guilty at Dundee Sher­iff Court yes­ter­day and a trial date was set for Septem­ber 1.

Four men have been charged with tar­get­ing pen­sion­ers and defrauding them of hun­dreds of pounds by telling them their homes were in­fected with wood­worm.

Hugh McPhee, Wil­liam McPhee, Paul McDon­agh and Hugh McPhee pleaded not guilty at Dundee Sher­iff Court yes­ter­day af­ter be­ing charged with al­legedly pos­ing as trades­men at ad­dresses in Down­field and Broughty Ferry in Fe­bru­ary.

The four faced four sep­a­rate al­le­ga­tions at the court, and all four de­nied all four charges.

All four men gave ad­dresses at the Trav­el­ling Per­sons site in Thorn­ton Wood, Kelty, Fife.

It is al­leged that on Fe­bru­ary 10 Hugh McPhee, 52, Wil­liam McPhee, 32, McDon­agh, 28, and McPhee, 18, vis­ited an ad­dress in Pit­lessie Gar­dens and pre­tended to an 86-year-old woman that they were trades­men.

The group are then said to have claimed there was an in­fes­ta­tion of wood­worm or rot within the woman’s at­tic tim­bers.

The charge fur­ther al­leges that the four knew there was no in­fes­ta­tion or rot and that they were not trades­men, but they did in­duce the el­derly woman into giv­ing them a de­posit of £200 for a job that would cost £1,000, thus ob­tain­ing the £200 by fraud.

The gang of four then al­legedly moved on to three other prop­er­ties in Broughty Ferry and at­tempted the same fraud on ladies aged 86, 94 and 84 to try and ob­tain £1,500, £1,000 and £500.

Two of the ladies’ homes were on the same street, Beau­mont Cres­cent, in Broughty Ferry.

A trial date was set for Septem­ber 1 at Dundee Sher­iff Court by Sher­iff Hughes, and all four men were or­dered to ap­pear on that date.

El­derly and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in Dundee have suf­fered a spate of bo­gus work­men-re­lated thefts in re­cent months.

Newly-ap­pointed Lord Provost Ian Borth­wick has pre­vi­ously called for all Dundee res­i­dents to keep an eye out for their neigh­bours in the fight against those tar­get­ing the city’s most vul­ner­a­ble.

Dundee Lord Provost Ian Borth­wick has called on peo­ple to look out for their neigh­bours.

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