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Rogue traders jailed after fleecing pensioners
A WHEEZING layabout raked in thousands of pounds with a gardening and DIY scam - while he sat in a deckchair overseeing a gang of rogue traders.
Overweight conman Edward Dolan simply watched as his son and another teenage trickster trimmed bushes and cut grass at an ailing pensioner's home.
The team charged their 84-year-old victim up to £1,250 a time for small sub-standard jobs - and took a total of £17,500 over more than two years.
One entry in the OAP's chequebook was £700 for a coat of gloss on a garage door, while there were also payments for house repairs and cleaning.
The ruthless travelling gang's activities did not come to light until after the cancer sufferer, from Marske, east Cleveland, died in late 2011.
A day after his death, while his son was sorting through his belongings, Edward Dolan turned up at the house looking to make more money.
Prosecutor Richard Bennett told Teesside Crown Court yesterday that the 47-year-old "left in a hurry" when he was told of the pensioner passing away.
But the victim's son was easily able to describe the 31-stone conman, while neighbours of the OAP later told police they had seen him there regularly.
Michael Dolan, who was 15 when the scam started, claimed after his arrest the gardening and repair business was his, and his father was just his driver.
His father tried to shift the blame onto the teenager when quizzed - but trading standards chiefs believe he ran it until his son reached 18.
The pair, both of Allen Grove, Stokesley, North Yorkshire, were jailed after they pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.
Michael Dolan also admitted a second conspiracy with friend William McElvaney, both now 19, which involved fleecing an 89-year-old out of £180.
The woman, who suffered from dementia and lived alone like the first victim, twice called her son to say she had no money after the pair took her pension.
Mr Bennett said a diary entry she made said "gardeners have been to cut the edges" and she later told her son that they had taken all of her cash.
Because she had been tricked out of money earlier in the year, her family installed a security camera which caught the pair knocking at her door.
The following day, Dolan returned to the bungalow in Hutton Rudby, North Yorkshire, looking for further work and cash for 'work', said Mr Bennett.
McElvaney, of Ainthorpe Lane, Whitby, was locked up for nine months after he admitted conspiracy to defraud over two days with Michael Dolan.
His barrister, John Harrison, admitted the pair did not intend to finish the job for which they had been paid, but said his involvement was limited.
Nigel Edwards, for Michael Dolan, who was jailed for two years, said the teenager accepted he overcharged for work but had no real empathy or insight.
Emma Bennett, for Edward Dolan, jailed for 15 months, said his asthma, obesity and knee and toe pains, would make any prison sentence hard to cope with.
Judge Armstrong heard that building and gardening experts said the £17,500 work on the home of the first victim was worth no more than £1,800.
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