A bogus landscaper who conned customers into paying him thousands for work he didn’t carry out has avoided jail today.
Michael Fennell accumulated £10,005 between April 2018 and December 2019.
The 59-year-old’s frauds spanned the west of the country with five victims living in Glasgow as well as Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire and South Lanarkshire.
Fennell’s victims included a 61-year-old retiree and a mum and dad with two young children.
Fennell, of Johnstone, pled guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court to five charges of fraud.
The court heard the first victim Paul McMurdo hired Fennell to do landscaping at his home in East Kilbride after posting an advert on MyBuilder.com in March 2018.
He was quoted £2000 by Fennell who asked for a £300 deposit upfront.
Mr McMurdo paid Fennell on the promise the work would be completed before June.
The work was not done and Fennell ignored text messages.
Mr McMurdo then contacted Action Fraud Scotland and the police to report Fennell.
The second victim 61-year-old Mary Catherine hired Fennell in a similar fashion to do landscaping for her at her home in Thornliebank in February 2019.
The company J and M Landscaping quoted her £3300 but Fennell requested 25% of the cash up front – £825.
She transferred the cash after agreeing the work which was not carried out.
Prosecutor Sat Singh said: “She made numerous attempts to contact him and received a number of excuses as to why the work could not start.”
Miss Catherine asked for her money back before a last chance request was made by Fennell.
Minor work was carried out in May 2019 but no one returned and the matter was reported to the police.
Parents-of-two Mario and Fabrina Fionda hired Fennell in spring 2019 to do work on their garden in Newton Mearns.
The trio agreed on a fee of £8700 but Fennell later asked for 50% up front.
Mr Fionda agreed he would pay if there was evidence of work being done or materials ordered.
Fennell sent a copy of a list of materials and asked for the cash before receiving £4375.
Mr Singh said: “Over the next 10 days no work was carried out.
“Mr Fionda told Fennell that he no longer wished for him to carry out the work and requested the money back. This was not done.”
Carol Enderby was quoted £2300 for landscaping in August 2019 at her home in the city’s Govan.
Fennell requested £575 before asking for a further “interim payment” of £805.
She too was given “reasons” as to why Fennell did not attend to do the work.
The last victim Reece Gayler was quoted £3125 for landscaping his garden in Port Glasgow in September 2019.
He paid the full total in two instalments for work to begin in November which was not carried out before reporting the matter to the police in January 2020.
The court heard that Fennell has since made efforts to pay the money back.
Sheriff Charles Lugton fined Fennell £3125 and tagged him for 90 days keeping him indoors between 7pm and 7am.