A MAN has appeared in court after conning a pensioner into forking out cash for unnecessary repairs to her home.

Matthew Smith, of no fixed address, was before Kirklees magistrates yesterday.

He admitted working with a group who targeted the frail Lowerhouses woman on her doorstep.

They arranged to carry out jobs on the 83-year-old’s property that weren’t needed.

Smith was rumbled when the concerned woman’s granddaughter alerted police.

He admitted to the fraud, which spanned between November 23 and 28.

Linda Fowler, prosecuting, said that another man working with Smithinitially attended at the woman’s home in Hall Cross Road.

He knocked at her door and offered to fix the wooden cladding at the front of the house.

She agreed a price with him and he arranged for 36-year-old Smith to attend the next day when he was dropped off by two other men.

He completed the work, but when the woman paid him she was told that some of her roof tiles were missing.

She agreed to pay £450 for this, but was hit with another bombshell.

Ms Fowler said: “While he was working there he kept passing his mobile so that she could speak to the original male.

“He told her that the roof was worse than was originally thought and that it would cost over £1,000.

“She said she didn’t have that sort of money but was told that cash was required that day.”

The victim said that she would pay £500 and that was accepted.

She handed over a total of £1,200 for the work, but when she spoke to her granddaughter about it she called police.

They fitted an alarm at the house which she activated when Smith showed up to complete his work.

He was arrested and said in interview that he had been living with a group of travellers on and off for the last 16 years.

Smith said that recently they had been in the Yorkshire area with the two other males canvassing the area looking for work.

On November 24 the men told him about a job in Huddersfield and he went with them.

He was told to work on the cladding at the front of the house and then the tiles, Smith said.

He claimed that the other man involved in the scam had told him to replace tiles that were not broken.

Neil Murphy, mitigating, said that his client knew what he was doing was wrong but that the other men involved had placed some pressure upon him.

He said: “This is very unpleasant and mean offence.

“He is one of the foot soldiers, the people who make the money are those who organise the activity and pay people like Mr Smith peanuts.

Magistrates adjourned sentencing until December 28 to allow a report to be prepared.

They released Smith on conditional bail to an address in Bradford and ordered him to cooperate with the probation service.

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