6 years for the fraudster who targeted Southport pensioner

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Michael McDonough aged 55-years-old from Dingle in Liverpool was sentenced to a total of six years imprisonment for two counts of burglary and three counts of fraud.

A further 17 offences of burglary and fraud were identified and taken into consideration.

On 6 December 2014, McDonough called at an address of an 88-year-old woman to advise her that she needed some tiles replaced on her roof and quoted her £184 for the repairs. A deposit of £60 was paid and agreed on the basis that the work would be completed two days later. Later that same evening, McDonough returned to the address requesting that the balance be paid in full.

The victim had become suspicious and advised him that she had called the police. He then stepped inside the premises and entered the living room and took her purse from her handbag. She managed to get hold of her handbag and struggled with McDonough who left the address empty-handed.

Four days later on Friday, 12 December, he called at an address of a 73-year-old woman in Bootle purporting to have been sent by her landlord and that she needed roof repair work. She gave McDonough £40 to carry out the repairs but the work was never done.

McDonough then targeted an address in Litherland on 17 December, telling the 84-year-old home owner that she needed some of her roof tiles replacing and a price of £30 was agreed. McDonough then asked the woman for some water and followed her into the house and then asked her to get him a bucket. While she went to the garage to get one, he went into her living room and took £1,600 and a bank book.

Detective Sergeant John Fitzgerald from Sefton CID said: “Targeting elderly people in their home is a contemptible crime. It’s very reassuring that this sentence protects vulnerable victims from such a prolific spree of crimes and recognises the seriousness and significant impact that this type of offence has not only on the victim, but on the community too.

“I would like to take this opportunity to urge people to take some simple and easy to remember precautions when someone they don’t know knocks on their door.

“These type of offenders rely on tricking their way into your home, either by asking to use a toilet, posing as someone official or, as in this case, putting you under pressure to agree to repair works on your home.

“Simply to not let anyone into your home who you do not know and never agree to any building or repair works by a complete stranger who knocks on your door. Always use a reputable company and, if you are in doubt, speak to a relative or friend to help you or take advice from Trading Standards.”

Anyone who does have information about crime in their area can call police on the non-emergency number 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

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