Raunds con-man back behind bars after tricking five more victims into handing him cash

Alan Fitzgerald was already barred from selling anything to anyone

Con-man Alan Fitzgerald
Con-man Alan Fitzgerald

A serial con artist who persuades people to hand over cash deposits for building work and non-existent flats to rent is back in prison after offending five more times – all while banned from selling anything to anyone anywhere in the country.

Alan Fitzgerald, who has 24 convictions for 50 previous offences, dating back to 1982, appeared before Northampton Crown Court this morning (Friday, July 15) to be sentenced for his latest crime spree which was committed while on licence from prison.

The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud in Irthlingborough, Wellingborough, Raunds, Rushden and Northampton during February and March.

The court heard how Fitzgerald had been banned from ever again selling any goods, services or offering flats to rent by a court order after he was convicted of 34 offences back in 2020 when was jailed for 40 months.

He served half the sentence but was back reoffending after the court heard he fell on hard times, could not get a bank account, ended up on drugs and living in a field.

Although his most recent address is in Raunds, he has also lived at various addresses around Northamptonshire. He appeared in court from HMP Peterborough.

His Honour Judge David Herbert heard how Fitzgerald had visited a house in Park Road, Rushden, on February 15 and claimed to be working on a nearby building site. He offered to fix a broken garden wall, taking a £60 deposit and then asking for £220 to be transferred into his bank account. He never returned to complete the work.

In the following weeks he repeated the con at other addresses, taking £110 from two more victims.

Then on March 15 he met a woman outside a Northampton pub who was in a vulnerable housing situation. He told her he had a flat available, asked her for a £100 deposit and took her to a property where he gave her the keys. They didn’t work and Fitzgerald did not return the money.

The following day he spoke to another woman in a precarious housing situation in a hotel reception area. He walked her to the bank, took a £150 deposit for a non-existent flat and promised to bring her the keys while she waited in a nearby McDonald’s. He never returned.

Statements read to the court stated that victims had been left angry, upset, ashamed and with ongoing trust issues.

In mitigation, barrister Michael Haggar said his client was sorry for his behaviour and that he had gained a high level cleaning qualification while in prison.

He said: "He went off the rails. When he started offending he was living in his daughter’s house. He was unable to get a job because of the fraud conviction. This was out of desperation.

"He ended up leaving his home and living in a field. He was getting lots of abuse online because of his convictions.

"I am asking the court to give him one opportunity to see if he can turn his life around.”

Sentencing Fitzgerald to 28 months in jail, Judge Herbert said: “You have demonstrated persistently over time that you’re a low level con-man who has not learned from previous offending.”

Fitzgerald will have to serve half the sentence behind bars.