Rushden rogue trader tricked pensioners into handing over cash

'Builder' jailed six years ago back in court on theft charges

By Kevin Nicholls
Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 11:35 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th February 2020, 11:38 am

A serial rogue trader jailed for six years in 2014 after cheating vulnerable victims out of £300,000 has been fined for conning two more pensioners into handing over cash.

Alan Fitzgerald, 53, of Duck Street, Rushden, was convicted of two offences of theft at Northampton Magistrates' Court.

Prosecutors said that on February 2 this year, Fitzgerald took a ladder and money from a 70-year-old man in Wellingborough after agreeing to carry out work on his house. He never returned to do the work and never returned the ladder.

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Alan Fitzgerald was fined after tricking pensioners into parting with their cash

Twelve days later, Fitzgerald turned up at the address of a 72-year-old man, He again arranged to do work on property and took a £100 deposit but did not return to carry out the work.

Fitzgerald was ordered to pay at total of £392 in fines, costs and compensation for the two charges of theft.

Northampton Crown Court had previously heard in January 2014 how Fitzgerald preyed on the infirm and elderly with dire warnings their homes needed urgent repair work.

But he took money from some 39 pensioners in Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire by overcharging them for work he botched or never finished.

Northampton Magistrates ordered Fitzgerald to pay a total of 392

One victim coughed up £39,000 while another was a 94-year-old woman who gave Fitzgerald £6,000 after being told she had asbestos in her home and would be prosecuted if she did not pay.

Judge Richard Bray described that as "a truly despicable offence."

Following last week's convictions, Neighbourhood Policing Sergeant Chris Stevens said: “People like Alan Fitzgerald give decent, hardworking traders a bad name and I am pleased to see him convicted for these offences.

“The emotional distress felt by the victims in these cases cannot be underestimated. They have put their trust in someone in their own homes and to find out that they have been conned leaves them feeling very vulnerable.

“Our advice if you need work doing on your home is to research traders properly in advance so you’re confident that the person doing the work is legitimate and can be trusted.

“The advice from Trading Standards is never to buy goods or services from a cold caller on your doorstep, even if they try and frighten you that the work needs doing immediately.

“Be wary of anyone cold-calling and if you have elderly relatives, please make them aware of this scam so they do not fall for a rogue trader.”