Merton Council prosecuted Morden resident Patrick Joseph Delaney of three offences of fraud earlier this month (7 May).
At Kingston Crown Court, Mr Delaney of Bishopsford Road pleaded guilty of being dishonest about his paving business to an elderly couple living in Morden Road.
Operating his business under the name of Approved Designs, Delaney was sentenced for the following:
– stating to the couple that no payment would be required until the paving job was complete;
– claiming a brochure from which the victims were to select a paving design was their own when it was a Marshalls brochure;
– claiming he had paid five labourers £50 each, spent £100 on fuel and subsistence and giving a false business address.
Delaney was sentenced to 100 hours community service and ordered to pay £1,000 in costs.
In April 2008 Patrick Delaney cold-called Mr and Mrs Shanmuganathan offering to pave their drive for them at a knock-down price of £1,200, saying that he would usually charge between £2,000 and £3,000. On several occasions he said that he would not accept money for the job until the work was completed.
Asked by the couple’s daughter Linda Shanmuganthan for a brochure showing examples of his business’s previous work, Mr Delaney returned to their home with two other men and no brochure. They asked for keys to move the cars so they could look at the drive, proceeded to break it up and insisted on a £500 payment before there was even an agreement for the work to go ahead.
The judge presiding over the case told him that he was a conman out to catch vulnerable people, his behaviour was despicable and that if he continued carrying on in the same manner, he would be sent to prison.
Merton Council director of Environment and regeneration Chris Lee said: “This is an awful act of preying on our older and more vulnerable residents. We will not stand for such behaviour, and would encourage anyone who is approached by people using aggressive business tactics in this way to contact our trading standards team on 0808 1562246. Those who feel intimidated are recommended to dial 999 for Police assistance. When something like this happens on your doorstep, it feels particularly invasive and we will do everything we can to stamp out this type of crime.”
The victims’ daughter Linda Shanmuganathan said: “My parents no longer have youth on their side yet they continue to earn a living in a meaningful and honest way. I don’t see why these criminals can’t harness their energy in a positive way and do the same thing. They were actually quite charming when they weren’t busy digging up holes without permission and damaging cars with their carelessness. In the end we only got our money back because we were using one of Mr. Delaney’s photo albums as a bargaining tool, and we only got a conviction because Merton Council’s trading standards team was so thorough in all their investigations.”