An Elton man was one of two bogus workmen to be jailed for “cruelly” conning pensioners out of thousands of pounds.
Andrew Lovell, 41, of Elton, admitted he now regretted his behaviour, saying: “I feel like scum” - even though he has a previous similar conviction.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that one 75-year-old victim did not believe that they had carried out work on her drive but handed over £3,500 as she feared they would rip up her block paving.
The second victim, who was 84 and living with dementia, gave the conmen £2,600 cash for non-existent roof repairs but they made her pay an extra £600 and took her to the bank in their van.
Lovell, of Coppice Green, Elton, and Charles Smith, 48, of Roach Vale, Rochdale, both pleaded guilty to two fraud offences and Smith also admitted making a false statement to obtain motor insurance.
Rob Jones, prosecuting, told the court that one of the fraudsters knocked at the home of a 75-year-old widow in Birkenhead , on January 5 this year holding a brochure about driveways.
She saw a van parked outside with a CNS Properties logo and he told her her driveway needed sealant. He said it should cost £4,000 but if they did it that day it would only be £3,500.
Mr Jones said: “She later told police she had felt frightened by him and that was increased when he made some observation if he was not able to do the sealant he would have to pull the tiles up in the driveway. While the conversation was taking place, without invitation, he walked into her hallway.”
Because she felt “intimidated” she agreed to get the money and withdrew £3,500.
He claimed the work had been done but she knew it was “a bare faced lie” as she knew the van had followed her to the bank and the driveway was untouched.
She told the police she knew she had been conned and no work had been carried out but she had felt intimidated.
Mr Jones said that on January 6 the two men called at the home of an 84-year-old in Formby offering to repair her roof but not quoting a price.
The woman, who has dementia, agreed. They did not do the work but returned a few days later asking for £2,600 which she handed over. They then said they needed more and drove her to the bank to get a further £600.
The following day Smith returned and the victim’s daughter, who was visiting, opened the door and was asked if she wanted jet washing work. She told him to leave and noticed he did not call at the home of any neighbours so she notified the police.
Police stopped the van about 15 minutes later.
The court heard that Lovell had been jailed for 15 months for conning pensioners in Frodsham in 2011. Smith has convictions for dishonesty but none for fraud.
David Birrell, defending, said that Lovell had written a letter in which he stated: “I know the offences are awful and I feel like scum for having done what I did. I cannot look at my wife and children because I am so ashamed.”
Defence barrister Sarah Griffin said that Smith, a father-of-three, “is deeply sorry and knows these are cruel offences”.
She added that his crimes had “put a strain” on his relationship with his wife.
Jailing both Lovell and Smith for three years and four months Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said there were “sinister” aspects to their activity.
He said: “These were mean, despicable offences designed to extort very significant sums of money from elderly potentially vulnerable people. That was your method of operation.
“They are very serious and cruel and given the way carried out probably sinister offences, both involving quite deliberate targeting of vulnerable elderly home owners with the pretence that you were going to or had carried out work on their behalf.”
They were both ordered to pay £3,350 compensation each at £100 per month. Smith was also banned from driving for 32 months.
Judge Menary said that there was “an underlying threat” that something would happen if they were not paid.