Wem rogue gardener sent down for pressuring two pensioners into having garden work done


Staff reporter (Whitchurch Herald)

A ROGUE gardener has been jailed after he pressured two Wem pensioners into paying hundreds of pounds for work.

A court heard he was in breach of an indefinite ban which prevented him touting for work door-to-door.

Arthur Watton targeted the elderly women and browbeat them into paying for lopping trees and clearing shrubs.

It was the third time the 40-year-old had ignored the indefinite anti-social behaviour order which was imposed in 2008 by the crown court.

At Shrewsbury Crown Court, Watton was jailed for a total of 21 months by Judge Peter Barrie, who said the defendant had a very bad record of taking advantage of the elderly.

The indefinite anti-social behaviour order imposed on Watton, of Kynaston Drive, Wem, will remain in place.

He had admitted two charges of breaching the order and an offence of making off without paying for £10 worth of fuel at the Esso petrol station on the Whitchurch bypass in December last year.

Ian Ball, prosecuting, said Watton had called at two houses in the Wem area in August 2015. At the first house he told the 83-year-old victim her a conifer tree need cutting and that shrubs needed tidying.

“She declined the offer, but he told her it had to be done because it would cause damage to the fence. He was very insistent,” he said.

Mr Ball said Watton offered to do it for £80 and when the figure dropped to £40 she refused. But Watton told her he had started the work and wanted £20. When the police were called, they found no work had been done.

On August 7, Watton targeted another householder and asked if he could cut climbing plants at the back of her house. Mr Ball said a price of £20 was agreed, but Watton then said one of the plants was diseased and would need cutting back and spraying.

“He told her the price was now £160. She went to the bank to get the money and on her return could see he had cut one plant which she described as ‘hacked’. 

“He insisted on being paid cash and told her the charge was £260 so she went back to the bank for the extra £100,” said Mr Ball.

The woman told the bank staff what happened and they alerted the police. The victim returned home and paid the defendant. Later she found cuttings dumped inside her shed and she said Watton had destroyed her garden.

Naomi Nelson-Cofie, for Watton, said her client ‘held his hands up’ to what he had done and now realised his lifestyle could not continue.

See full story in the Whitchurch Herald

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